Yes. An employer normally has the right to require employees to wear uniforms. California law defines a uniform as any “apparel and accessories of distinctive design and color” which an employee is required to wear.2. If a uniform is required, do I have to provide it myself?
Usually an employer must provide the uniform. However, if the uniform can be used in other workplaces in the same field, the employer does not have to provide the uniform. For instance, if a salesperson is required to wear a normal dress shirt, then the employee can be forced to pay for the shirt. However, if the company logo is printed on the dress shirt or if that shirt has a distinctive style or color, that shirt cannot be used at another workplace and the employer must provide it.
Employees are responsible for normal washing and drying of uniforms. If ironing, dry cleaning, or separate laundering is required, the employer must pay for it. Employers must compensate employees for uniform care at the rate of one hour per week at the California minimum wage ($6.75 as of January 1, 2002) or more, if that amount does not fairly cover the expense of this additional care.4. Who has to provide and maintain work tools and equipment?
Employers usually must supply and take care of all tools and equipment that are required by the employer or necessary to do the job. However, there are two limited exceptions:
Normally yes. Employers may require a reasonable security deposit, up to the replacement cost of the item. Employees must be supplied a receipt for the deposit and must agree, in writing, to any conditions under which the employer may withhold the deposit. Employers must return the deposit, with interest, upon return of the items. No deductions may be withheld for normal wear and tear.6. What if I break or do not return something, and I did not supply a security deposit?
An employer normally has to cover the cost of lost or damaged equipment.
In very limited circumstances, an employer may deduct the cost of the missing or broken item from an employee’s paycheck. You can only be charged if your employer can show that you stole equipment or that you intentionally broke company property. (See our Fact Sheet Deductions from Pay for further information about your employer’s right to take money from your paycheck).7. Who is responsible for tools and equipment stolen from the workplace?
Responsibility for stolen equipment depends on two factors:
Generally, if an employer requires that tools be stored at work, or it is too difficult to store them at the employee’s home, then the employer is responsible for the stolen items, even if they belonged to the employee.8. What do I do if my employer tries to illegally charge me for uniforms or equipment?
If your employer forces you to pay for tools or equipment that you should not have paid for and refuses to pay you back, you can file a claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (also known as the “Labor Commissioner”).
You can also choose to take your employer to court to recover the money.
It is always helpful to keep an accurate record of the money you are forced to pay for uniforms or tools; this information will help you if you decide to file with the Labor Commissioner or in court.