Is it legal for my employer to withhold expense checks until I complete an unrelated task?

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Is it legal for my employer to withhold expense checks until I complete an unrelated task?

Asked on September 18, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, in most states employers are not required to reimburse employees for expenses incurred in connection with their work, including travel expenses.
That having been said, if it is company policy to do so or an employment contract or union agreement provides for reimbursement, than an employee is entitled to it.
Additionally, if an employer promised to reimburse an employee for travel, and it was on the basis of that promise that the employee expended money on travel, that promise may be enforceable. As for not being paid until an unrelated task is completed, if that performance was part of the promise of reimbursement, then it must be completed. If, however, the performance of this task is something that was separate and apart from your employer's initial promise of reimbursement, then you are entitled to the payment of your travel expenses, regardless of the completion of the task in question although you could possibly lose your job if you don't it.
At this point, you can consult with an employment law attorney in your state or contact or state's department of labor for further information.


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