An article released by BLR.com
Starbucks recently paid a reported $3 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging its travel expense policy violated state wage and hour laws. The majority of the workers claimed they regularly used their personal vehicles to perform work-related duties but were allegedly told that Starbucks had a policy of not reimbursing for mileage. This settlement proved to be a costly lesson for the Seattle-based coffee purveyor – and a wake-up call for employers everywhere.
Travel-related expenses aren’t the only hot-button issue these days. New York-based fashion retailer Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. recently paid $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit alleging it required workers to wear clothes with distinctive designs without reimbursing them for what they claimed constituted uniforms. Also, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued an opinion letter earlier this year on whether an employee would have to pay out-of-pocket to replace a uniform damaged while he was off the clock.
It’s real-life issues like these that come up time and again for employers grappling to understand whether they’re in compliance with the laws governing reimbursements.