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Be careful what you refer to as an employee “uniform” in your employee handbook and policies. The wrong use of the word could be costly, noted Tammy McCutchen, an employment-law attorney at Littler Mendelson, at a recent Society for Human Resources Management conference.

Let’s say you require employees to wear their own khaki pants and a blue, collared shirt to work. McCutchen suggested employers refer to that outfit in their policies as a company “dress code” that employees must adhere to. Don’t call it a uniform.

Reason: Under state or federal law, you may need to pay for employees’ “uniforms” and maybe even the cost of cleaning them, especially if the cost of the uniforms pulls the employees’ pay below the minimum wage.

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