I am a college professor and it is part of my job to attend academic conferences. My employee is supposed to cover conference-related expenses. I recently attended an academic conference in Houston, TX. I didn't attend the first day of the conference as I was not interested in those research topics. I only attended the second day of the conference. As I am physically close (3.5 hours drive) to Houston, I used my own car. I wanted to save the state's money and did not stay in a hotel. My employee does not pay meal expenses and claims that I should have stayed overnight to be able to claim meal expenses. Other professors who attended the same conference and stayed in a hotel were fully reimbursed for meal expenses. I feel discriminated.
I was told the following for meal expenses:
"Travel regulations clearly state that meals will not be reimbursed unless they are part of an overnight stay. We are following a decision made by our System Office of Budgets and Accounting. The basis for this decision was an IRS ruling that states that reimbursement of this type would be a taxable event. "
Do I have a case for discrimination?
You didn't follow the school's policy, so you were not reimbursed. Why would you think this is discrimination? People who followed the policy were reimbursed, and you were not. If you wanted to take your own car and just go for one day, you should have checked with the financial office before going to make sure that would be acceptable.
(By the way, the company you work for is your employer; you are the employee.)
Be aware that this response does not create an attorney/client relationship. I live and work in Massachusetts and may or may not know the local laws where you live. I hope people find my responses not only helpful but somewhat entertaining as well. If you rely on this as legal advice, remember the old saying, "You get what you pay for."
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