Laurent Badoux was featured in AZ Central’s Ask the Experts.
Question: Can company demands to see my personal phone bill?
My employer reimburses us for the portion of our cellphone use that is used for work. But now they want us to submit full copies of our monthly bills with the work calls highlighted so they can make sure we aren’t cheating them. I am uncomfortable with giving them access to private numbers of my friends and family that appear on these bills. But if I don’t, I won’t get reimbursed. Can they force me to give up these private numbers in order to get reimbursed?
Answer: Company is free to impose requirements on reimbursement
The basic legal requirements related to business expenses in Arizona is simply that an employee’s regular rate of pay cannot drop below the applicable minimum wage because of mandatory work expenditures, an issue that often arises in the context of the purchase of required work tools or uniforms. As of Jan. 1, the minimum wage rate in Arizona is $10 per hour, following approval of Proposition 206.
As long as cellphone costs for business use do not drop an employee’s regular rate of pay below minimum wage, the company has no obligation to repay those costs. Assuming that is the case, if the company voluntarily chooses to reimburse the pro-rated costs of the use of your personal cellphone for business calls, it is likely free to impose any requirement it deems appropriate before making the discretionary reimbursement, including that you submit un-redacted monthly bills.
If you do not wish to submit your bills for reimbursement, you can either use a different mobile phone exclusively for work calls or not use your personal mobile phone for business calls at all. You can also try to submit a redacted version of your complete phone bill with only the numbers for which you do not seek reimbursement redacted while leaving their date, duration, etc., visible to the reviewer to show that your allocation of work to personal calls is genuine.
This response purposefully does not contain a debate of the merits of the policy itself or alternatives to that policy your employer might consider.