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Is it Legal to Change Uniform Policies for Existing Employees?

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  • Is it Legal to Change Uniform Policies for Existing Employees?

    Is it legal for a company to suddenly demand that their employees pay for their uniforms ($200 taken over a 10 week pay period from the check) after never having that policy in place? They have done it for a few months for new employees, but some people have worked here over fifteen years and now are being forced to agree to allow this to be taken out. The management has said that if people do not agree to this they will be fired. The company's headquarters are in Pennsylvania and the site I work at is in Massachusetts. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Certainly it is, unless there is a contract in place prohibiting it. Employers may change their policies as business needs require.

    I would ask, though, what kind of uniforms are we talking about and what is the cost for? Purchasing the items or maintenance of them? I take it you're required to wear the uniform and it is not something you could wear as normal street wear?
    Last edited by Pattymd; 04-15-2006, 02:39 PM.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the fast answer It's a security guard uniform, and they're actually charging all the current employees $200 for three short sleeve shirts. They handed out a sheet breaking down what each item of the uniform costs, and for three of the shirts it comes out to $27, which is what I have a major problem with. I'd be fine actually paying for the shirts, or allowing them to deduct it, but it seems excessive to want $200; they promise to return it if the uniform exhibits 'reasonable' wear and tear, but they won't define what qualifies as reasonable and that strikes me as wording that will just allow them to only refund part of the money. I'm actually pondering asking for $200 worth of new uniform clothing and accessories before signing off and allowing them to deduct the money just so I can get my money's worth, so to speak.

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      • #4
        Let me do a little checking on state law and I'll get back to you. My first impression is that in your state, if the uniform is required, and it can't be worn as street clothes, they can't deduct anything for it.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the help. This looks like a poor man's version of a police uniform, and has the company's logo on it, so it really can't be worn as street clothing. I've tried putting this subject into various search engines in the hopes of finding a site with some laws that I could quote or even court rulings, but I'm not getting very far with the search; I could, however, order any number of labor law posters from a multitude of sites at this point . Do you recommend any law-related sites that I could browse for actual content?

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          • #6
            This is where I was going to start.
            http://www.ago.state.ma.us/sp.cfm?pageid=1128

            Our moderator here is from Massachusetts, so she may know this without research, but being as it's the holiday, she may not be here until tomorrow.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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            • #7
              I'm here, but I'm afraid I'm not up on uniform law in MA, since I've never worked anyplace that required anything more than a lab coat so it was never necessary for me to learn it.

              We have a MA attorney who posts fairly regularly and he might know. But not only do we have the religious holiday today, tomorrow is a state holiday in MA so I can't say when he'll be around.
              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.

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