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Uniforms Massachusetts

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  • Uniforms Massachusetts

    Can an employer make hourly workers start wearing a uniform if they wore their own nice clothing with some restrictions before? The uniform is not to protect us from hazardous chemicals or anything. This is retail. The air conditioning is broken most of the time and the new uniform is heavy and hot. The employer is providing the tops but not the bottoms but the bottoms have to be a certain color. Many of us can't afford to buy new bottoms, either.

  • #2
    Yes, an employer can require uniforms even if they were not previously required.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      As to your comment about their cost:

      I've never seen a case where requiring employees to wear basic colors, like black pants, has been considered a "uniform" for which the employer would have to reimburse the employee. But, you can call the Massachusetts Attorney General's office if you think the pants aren't basic.

      If your next question has to do with cleaning and maintenance costs, be aware that even for uniforms, the maintenance costs are only an issue when such costs would reduce an employee’s wage below the statutory minimum. Further, where uniforms require special treatment such as dry-cleaning or commercial laundering, employees must be reimbursed for uniform maintenance costs only when the costs reduce their wages below the statutory minimum wage.

      Where an employer requires uniforms made of "wash and wear" materials, that do not require special treatment, and that are routinely washed and dried with other personal garments, employers need not reimburse uniform maintenance costs.

      This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (

      This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.