Claim for Reimbursement of Expenses

B-195387: Dec 15, 1981

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An Army finance officer requested a decision concerning an employee's claim for reimbursement of cleaning expenses. The employee was a cook for the Army, and his work uniforms were cleaned by the agency at the Government laundry. In April of 1978, his supervisor stated that the laundering of uniforms would be the responsibility of each individual cook. The employee reported, with documentation, that he bore the cost of laundering his uniforms from April to September 1978, at which time he was transferred. The employee seeks reimbursement for the expenses he incurred for laundering his uniforms prior to his transfer. GAO reviewed the record and found that by regulation and labor-management agreement, the Army had agreed to bear the full expense of all special clothing which its employees were required to use in performing their official duties. This included the laundering of the cook's uniforms. The employee discontinued having his uniforms cleaned at a Government facility only because of an erroneous statement made by his supervisor. Thus, GAO concluded that there was a loss of a benefit conferred upon the claimant by regulation and labor-management agreement, caused by the erroneous act of a Government agent. Accordingly, the voucher submitted by the employee may be certified for payment.