Boss misleads worker on gas he's buying for company truck

CAN THEY DO THAT?

June 07, 2006|By CARRIE MASON-DRAFFEN | CARRIE MASON-DRAFFEN,NEWSDAY

My son drives a truck for a small company. Even though the truck belongs to the company and my son uses it just for work, he isn't reimbursed for gas. He picks up the truck at the beginning of work and drops it off at night. When he complained about not being reimbursed for gas, the owner told him to save his receipts and claim the gas on his taxes. The guy said it was 100 percent reimbursable. True or not, shouldn't the boss pay?

If your son is an independent contractor, then he should be responsible for his own expenses, said employment lawyer Jeffrey Schlossberg of Ruskin Moscou Faltischek PC, in Uniondale, N.Y.

But if he is on staff, "it is quite surprising to read that the employer is unwilling to reimburse the employee for expenses directly related to operating a business-owned truck," Schlossberg said. "That is certainly not typical."

He stressed that the policy is legal. Regardless, the employer's suggestion about taxes is misleading.

"A deduction does not provide 100 percent reimbursement," Schlossberg said. "It offers only a partial reimbursement to an employee who itemizes expenses."

Armed with this information, your son needs to revisit the topic with his supervisor to ask the company to pay for the gas. He has solid reasons for doing so.

carrie.draffen@newsday.com

Carrie Mason-Draffen writes for Newsday.

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