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I could add a lot more details to this question but I feel they don't have an affect. An employer told me to buy something. They agreed to reimburse me the next day. Now they're saying it will be a while because a deadline was missed. A different manager did this once before and this time I had a clear written agreement. The amount is relatively small (under $50) but I feel this is dishonest. I took a picture of the receipt and sent it to them shortly after the purchase was made. I normally would use a company supplied credit card but it wasn't working today. My manager told me to do this and I have it in writing.

How should I reply? What should I do? On one hand I'm not going to go nuclear and go to court over a small amount. On the other hand I don't want to do nothing.

I could reply "what deadline? we never agreed to this. When will I get reimbursed?"

Just because answers/comments are bringing it up, I am certain I met all my deadlines. I filled out the expense report in enough time (even though I would argue this was extraneous as the manager had expressly agreed to reimburse me the next day after I voiced concerns that I was concerned something like this would happen).

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    How were you informed about "the next day"? Verbally? E-mail? – Sourav Ghosh Oct 14 at 6:51
  • @SouravGhosh text message – Bertelem Oct 14 at 7:05
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    "Now they're saying it will be a while because a deadline was missed." What sort of deadline? Something you've missed (ie are they penalising you for missing a deadline), or a finance-type deadline? – AdzzzUK Oct 14 at 8:53
  • @AdzzzUK there was never any talk of a deadline. This came out of the blue. They have given no details. I could ask but honestly I find it a bit rude how they didn't give any in the first place. I couldn't possibly have missed a deadline because I sent the receipt as soon as I got it. – Bertelem Oct 14 at 11:19
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    What is the relation between getting reimbursed the next day and a deadline being missed? – sf02 Oct 14 at 14:29
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What to do when employer lied about when they would reimburse for out of pocket expense?

I don't think this situation constitutes a lie, in first place.

The reimbursement request is not dismissed, it's postponed (for some reason). Given that you already have a written confirmation for the reimbursement, combined with the amount (relatively small), I won't worry much.

Put an email to the person (your manager?) asking

  • Details about the missed deadlines ("What" caused it)
  • Anything that could have prevented missing that deadline ("How" it can be avoided)
  • The revised date of the reimbursement ("When" it will be processed)

Unless you need that amount immediately for some reason, there's no need to boil the ocean - just wait it out.

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    +1 alone for "no need to boil the ocean" - what a phrase! – Captain Emacs Oct 14 at 8:43
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    They agreed to reimburse me the next day. Now they're saying it will be a while because a deadline was missed. Sounds like a good lie to me. – Stun Brick Oct 14 at 8:51
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    Never mess with another man's money - wise words from my father. This change in schedule (read cashflow issue) is the business' concern, not the concern of the employee who agree'd to loan them his personal money on the condition that it would be reimbursed the next day. – Stun Brick Oct 14 at 11:37
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    -1 Stun Brick is correct, this is asolutely a lie – Dave Gremlin Oct 14 at 23:35
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    @DaveGremlin As Joe mentioned above, we do not have enough information to conclude it was a lie, it may be a case of sloppy / lazy manager, forgotten action item, priority cases , personal emergency - take your pick. It was wrong, without any doubt, but too soon to jump onto a conclusion about an intentional lie. – Sourav Ghosh Oct 15 at 6:38
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Depending on the size of the employer, there could be a formal expenses process that you may need to follow. These processes generally also mean defined timescales for repayment to be issued.

For example, my current employer has a process where I need to file a claim electronically, with receipts, onto our ERP system, print out a form and then pass this to the Finance team. Every Tuesday, one of the Finance team then process expenses claims received since the previous Tuesday, authorising payments and sending this information to the Payroll department. Payment is then usually deposited directly to my bank account by the payroll team on the Friday following (so, a couple of days after Finance do their bit). Other companies may have a longer timeframe, and these could be the deadline being talked about.

I would suggest talking directly with your manager so that they can advise you as to the normal expenses process for your company.

  • but it sounds like they talked to the manager who said it will be reimbursed the next day... I'm not sure they would get a different answer by asking again! – seventyeightist Oct 14 at 19:54
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Take it as a lesson learned. Stop running around and buying stuff just because the boss claims you will get paid the next day. If it's possible to get paid the next day the boss can go himself or send someone else and they will get paid the next day. Next time they ask you say, 'Sorry, I have to take my kid to _______' or 'Sorry, I need to go home and take care of XYZ and I don't have time to go to that store' or 'I'd love to but I don't get paid till a week from now & my budget doesn't allow for that' (for example). Don't feel embarrassed or over think it. They WILL find some other sucker to send to the store.

You can also say, 'let me have the company card and I'll use that!' These managers always have one of those, even if they don't admit it.

People treat you the way you let them treat you. You are creating their image of what they can do to you by how you respond to them. You can train them not to treat you like a sucker.

Whatever you do, don't accuse the boss of anything or even mention your feelings on this topic to somebody else at work unless you're 100% sure that other person is not the boss's pet/friend type.

  • The last two paragraphs seem at odds to me. "don't let people mistreat you" vs "don't complain" – Bwmat Oct 15 at 1:48
  • @Bwmat, My point is that you need to push back without seeming pushy or judgmental. The political reality in the office is that you basically shame your boss you're rolling the dice on your job/work environment as it all depends on his character which in this case is already suspect. I've seen what seemed like the perfect boss turn into a vindictive demon over way less. Don't think this particular issue is worth going head to head with the boss over. Of course the other option is to simply find a new job. – HenryM Oct 15 at 14:51
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I took particular note of two points in your question. You say:

A different manager did this once before

Mistakes happen, every dog gets one bite and all that, but though it involved two different managers, this is a very bad sign. It provides strong evidence that your company is fundamentally dishonest and/or in financial straits.

and:

I normally would use a company supplied credit card but it wasn't working today.

This should set off all sorts of alarm bells, particularly in conjunction with the previous statement. I'd be very worried that your company is circling the drain, and trying to eek out a few more days or week by getting disguised loans from their employees. I'd be very worried that a future paycheck is going to bounce. I know this is annoying, cliched advice on this exchange, but update your resume and starting looking for other positions.

Perhaps I'm being alarmist, about the companies financial status, but you now have two occasions when your managers have lied to you. As you note in your question, the amounts involved are too small to warrant going to the court. I think this is an accurate assessment. However, the sad fact is, other than going to the law, there is no remedy for injuries like this.

It might feel satisfying to plan to confront them, demonstrating their lies to their face, but 99.9% of the time they will simply look at you innocently and tell you that this is an unhappy accident, totally beyond their control, and possibly even your fault. At that point you'll feel even more frustrated than you do now. It's pretty clear that you are working for folks that ethically challenged. There really isn't much you can do but sever your connection to them as quickly as possible.

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How confrontational do you wish to be?

(i.e: how secure is your job and how well are you doing it)

The answer depends, but I will run with the assumption: A bit confrontational, but not overly much. A perfectly OK situation is also to write it off as a possible loss and take it as a 50$ lesson learned. Next time say that you can't afford it. Some lessons come at a cost, in fact the best ones do.

But I would... Ask your employer to personally reimburse you the cost - arguing that it was based on your trust of him/her you saw no worry in using your own money and that you basically lent the money to h**. The employer basically has to indict h**self to not be trustworthy to dodge that.

At least (even if unsuccessful) you portray that this situation is not OK and that the cost to the manager/employer is lost trust and respect.

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Just wait (at least if you do not absolutely need the money immediately). Otherwise you might be perceived as "high maintenance". Of course you are "right", they promised you to return the money sooner and didn't. But nevertheless, in the long run you may want to save your credit for requests that really matter. If you don't get the money within two weeks or so, remind them in a friendly, non-confrontational way.

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