From the Hotline: Employee Travel Policy

Question: Two of our employees are traveling together and our expense policy requires that they share a hotel room. One of them is complaining about it. Is this an acceptable policy?

Answer: There is nothing that specifically prohibits such a policy. The assumption is that most employers who implement such a policy do so for budgetary reasons.

In order to avoid any legal issues, the policy should be clear and apply uniformly to all employee travel. Additionally, there should be some statement in the policy allowing for special requests or special needs for a private room. It may be necessary to accommodate such requests if they are related to issues such as medical privacy and/or religious reasons.

There is no one right way to address this issue, so it will depend on your organization’s culture and travel policies. While budget is likely the main factor, it should not be the only consideration. Such a practice could potentially impact morale. As an alternative, many employers will use more affordable hotels and limit other travel expenses to enable employees to lodge separately.

If this is a current situation, talk to the employee about his or her concerns and advise that you will consider alternate arrangements for a reasonable request based on the facts and circumstances.