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My company wants me to have internet at my apartment, as in emergency I can work from home. Company pays monthly internet bill. Also first time installation charges. But recently I moved into a new apartment and my company asked AT&T to transfer internet service from my old apartment to new apartment. But in the first month bill in my new apartment AT&T charged installation charges $$$. So now my company says I have to pay the installation charges. Although I didn't ask my company for my internet.

My question is "Do I have to pay the installation charges?".

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Of course you don't have to pay them - you just might not like the result.

As a matter of law - given that I am not a lawyer - I am not aware of any requirement for a company to pay employees business-related expenses. An example might be having a cell phone, and according to this article companies aren't required to pay for you to have a cell phone even if they require you have one and use it as part of your employment.

The primary areas where law does exist relates to company uniforms with a logo (in a very limited number of US states) and necessary personal safety equipment (in California and maybe only few other states). All other tool requirements for a job are not prohibited by law, so long as they are not illegally discriminatory (such as requiring people of a certain race or sex to buy something but no one else, etc).

So a company can require all sorts of things, from having an internet connection to cell phone to laptop to specialty tools and equipment of all sorts, and they are even allowed to deduct the cost of some things from your pay - just so long as you still get paid minimum wage after the deductions.

With all that said, the company's previous payments of fees and willingness to pay a monthly internet fee does not obligate them to pay other fees too, such as moving/installation/etc. They may even decide to no longer provide internet service at their expense and just require you to provide it as a condition of employment.

You can insist on it with your employer, and if you don't have an employment contract that forbids it they can fire you or possibly even deduct it from your pay anyway (and this reason might not be one that allows you to collect unemployment insurance benefits - but you'd need to check with an expert on that). You can refuse to pay AT&T directly, and they can cancel the internet service - and your employer can then do the same as in the previous condition. Or you can choose to pay it - or ask your employer to split the cost over a few checks if it is rather high - and that's about it.

Like the cost of anything else you have to pay - from your own food to your computer, clothes, etc - it's best to just consider it your own "cost of doing business" and decide if it's still in your interest to keep working there, and for something to consider in future pay negotiations! You may also qualify for an itemized Employee Business Expense deduction from the IRS, but you'll need to read the requirements carefully and get/keep a receipt for such expenses.

  • thank you so much for your time and for this very nice detailed answer. I'm gonna take this as answer. I don't know why but still it doesn't seem fair to me. – Annonymous Jan 15 '15 at 16:29
  • @Annonymous Partially because you have to pay for something you didn't individually decide, and partly I'm sure because they didn't warn you in advance or clearly define what they would or wouldn't pay for. Unexpected expenses are displeasing - the law certainly doesn't require you to like it! Glad I was able to help, anyway :) – BrianH Jan 15 '15 at 17:54
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    Could be worse, the Supreme Court recently ruled that employers can require you to go through a security screen at work and not have to pay you for your time to do it. npr.org/2014/12/09/369671004/… – JohnFx Jan 15 '15 at 18:04
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It appears so. I suppose you could try saying that you don't want to pay for it and won't have Internet installed, but that could be detrimental to your career.

There is no law that says your company has to pay for your Internet unless you have some kind of contract with them that says you will.

If anything, your best option might be to try to claim it is a business expense and deduct it on your taxes.

  • But the point is I didn't ask to pay for my internet, company itself wants an internet connection at my apartment. – Annonymous Jan 15 '15 at 14:44
  • Note that you can not necessarily deduct this from your taxes. You'll want to read up or hire an accountant before doing so. – ChrisInEdmonton Jan 15 '15 at 14:44
  • You have two choices ... pay or tell your boss you won't pay. The second may limit your career with that company so if ypu go that route you may also want to start searching for another job... and ask this question during the interviews. For what it's worth I telecommute and the company won't pay my network costs ... but will pay my phone bill. Better than nothing. – keshlam Jan 16 '15 at 3:08

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