Specifically, my employer allowed employees to submit late fees on credit cards as an expense. They permitted the expensing of late fees for years. After my last expense report was approved by my manager, my manager's manager, and paid by accounts payable, my company came to me and is requesting I reimburse them for late fees for the past few months.
They did not provide any notice to employees that they were going to start enforcing this. They are choosing to enforce it on a retroactive basis. Is this permitted?
My expense report was approved by several layers of management - which per company policy, is the vehicle to disapprove expense reports. How can they only choose to enforce this policy for the last few expense reports. To avoid discrimination, wouldn't they have to request that all employees pay all late fees for however long the policy was in place?
I would recommend you complain about how much pain this is going to cost you. But you should take it to your immediate superior and not go above him or her. If no satisfaction, consult an employment lawyer before doing anything further.
If your employer had a written expense reimbursement policy in place that allowed reimbursement for late charges they are bound by that policy under Labor Law 198-C until such time as they amend the policy. Thus, they cannot require you to pay back the late charges for the period before the policy was changed. Please note, Labor Law 198-C does not apply to any person in a bona fide executive, administrative, or
professional capacity whose earnings are in excess of nine hundred dollars a week.
As one poster indicated, if they have a written policy in place, this would be inappropriate. Contact a local employment attorney to see if there is anything that can be done. Alternatively, simply talk to them and see if they can give you a reprieve on this given the circumstances, with the understanding being that you will be responsible for them going forward.
This answer does not constitute formal legal advice and you should contact this or another attorney to confirm or research further any statements made in this answer. Any statements of fact or law I have made in this answer pertain solely to New York State and Federal law and should not be relied upon in any way in any other jurisdiction.
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