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Big settlement over dress code will spark scrutiny of uniform law

by on
in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Avoid dress-code rules that have no clear business reason or health and safety reason, plus check with your state labor department to see if your state has a pay-for-uniform rule.

Reason: Retailer Abercrombie & Fitch's recent $2.2 million settlement with state labor regulators and 11,000 California employees may set a precedent for other companies, especially retailers, that encourage or require employees to buy and wear the company's clothing on the job.

The settlement will likely signal a shift in retailers' dress-code rules.

California's labor commission accused Abercrombie of violating a state law that requires companies to pay for employees' uniforms. Califor-nia broadly defines uniforms as any clothing of a specified design or manufacturer, including specific brands sold by the retailer.

The state also claimed that the mandatory clothing purchases pushed some employees' hourly wages below the legal minimum wage, which is against federal law.

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