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Employee rights & uniforms

Certain jobs require employees to wear uniforms, whether for enhanced visibility, safety, to promote a brand image or to promote professionalism. State labour departments set laws that regulate what employers can and cannot require from employees with regard to uniforms, though many of the same rights apply in every state.

Uniform Requirements

In general, employers can require any type of employee to wear a uniform while on the job. This can range from a specific uniform to a more general dress code, such as a shirt and tie or a white dress shirt with a black skirt or trousers. Employees may face dress code requirements whether thy are full- or part-time workers, and regardless of their positions or industries. According to the website Nolo, federal law allows employees to take tax deductions for any money they spent on purchasing or maintaining work uniforms.


In general, state laws require employers to pay for any specific uniforms they require, while employees must pay for more general work uniforms themselves. States define employees' rights to receive work uniforms free of charge by whether the uniform could be worn at another job or for a different employer. For example, employees are responsible for buying general dress clothes, even in specific colours, while they have the right to receive uniforms with logos or the company name free of charge from the employer.


Employers can legally collect security deposits from employees for any uniforms the employer provides. The purpose of a deposit is to cover the cost of the uniform if the employee loses or fails to return it. Employees have the right to receive their uniform deposits back if and when they return all uniforms in acceptable condition, which includes the provision for normal wear and tear based on the quality and life of the uniform. Employees who sign employment contracts are bound by the uniform policies they agree to with regards to security deposit returns and withholdings.


Even when employees have the right to free uniforms, they are still responsible for paying for maintenance and cleaning. Since uniform cleaning takes the place of general clothing maintenance in regards to what employees would otherwise wear on the job, employers do not need to provide cleaning services or laundry facilities. Employees are also responsible for wearing their uniforms in accordance with company guidelines, which may state that uniforms need to be clean, tucked in or unaltered.