Restaurants and retailers often have strict dress codes for employees; for example, black polo shirts and khaki pants. These aren’t uniforms—there aren’t any logos on the shirts—but the goal is to create a consistent look for employees.
These quasi-uniform dress codes can create problems because the law requires employers to pay for employee uniforms, but not for clothing that could reasonably be worn outside the workplace.
The best approach may be to pay for employees’ clothing rather than risk class-action litigation over who should be covering the cost. A lawsuit can be far more expensive than the clothing itself, especially since judges often refuse to dismiss cases and instead rely on juries to decide whether clothing is a uniform or street wear.
Recent case: Ricardo Copantitla and other waiters at a New York restaurant were required to wear suits, shirts and ties at work. These were procured from a specific retailer and all matched. Employees described them as “Liberace-like” and generally disliked them intensely. But the suits and other clothing items did not have the restaurant’s name or logo and could theoretically be worn off duty.
Waiters paid for and owned the clothing.
As part of a larger lawsuit over working conditions, the waiters added a claim for the outfits. They contended the restaurant violated New York labor laws that require employers to reimburse an employee for the cost of a required uniform no later than the next regular paycheck.
The restaurant argued the clothing wasn’t a uniform and therefore employees were responsible for payment.
The court, however, concluded that a jury could best decide whether the flashy suits were uniforms or could be worn socially. (Copantitla, et al., v. Fiskardo Estiatorio, et al., No. 09-CIV-1608, SD NY, 2011)
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/14810/consider-paying-for-uniform-like-clothing "
- California's wage-and-hour laws apply to everyone--even foreign-owned corporations
- No jury trials for disability retaliation—but you still must handle complaints properly
- Offer accommodation, but don't mandate extra leave
- HR protected—But only if it actually helped file bias claims
- When former employees poach more of your all-stars, fight back in court