Many employers require their workers to adhere to a dress code that suits the needs of their businesses. While the law does allow employers to implement dress codes, it also prohibits employers from infringing on the workers’ rights while doing so. You might be eligible for compensation or reimbursement if your employer has violated California laws in its pursuit to enforce unfair dress code practices. The following is some information about dress codes and what’s admissible according to California laws. 

Why Employers Implement Dress Codes

Employers enforce dress code rules for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, they want to see all of their employees exercise a uniform style of dress because it reflects unity and professionalism. Therefore, they may ask their workers to dress in business casual attire. In some cases, the dress code revolves around safety precautions. Other times, companies want to see their brand name on their workers. Therefore, they require their workers to wear partial or complete company-branded clothing.  

What California Law Says About Dress Codes

California’s law states that employers do have the right to institute dress codes and grooming policies if those policies are based on the business and financial needs of the establishments. Employers may also encourage or enforce dress codes based on social norms and standards. The concept of dress codes can easily go down a slippery slope; however, when the employer breaches an employee’s rights. The law prohibits employers from practicing discriminatory dress code enforcement. Therefore, businesses have to be careful not to break anti-discriminatory laws when they create dress code guidelines.

What Employers Can’t Do Regarding Dress Codes

An employer may not enforce dress code guidelines that violate people in protected classes. The laws may not discriminate against employees because of religion, gender, disability, race, or age. For example, an employer cannot force its female workers to wear provocative clothing that is likely to cause them to experience a hostile work environment. An employer may not ban religious persons from wearing head coverings if they do not cause a legitimate problem for business operations. Furthermore, laws such as the Crown Act prevent employers from implementing dress codes that discriminate against the natural hairstyles of students of a certain race. 

Should You Be Getting Paid for Your Uniform?

Mandatory uniforms are another issue. As long as employers do not violate the Equal Employment Opportunity’s regulations, they can require their workers to wear mandatory uniforms. However, you might be entitled to reimbursement if you had to pay for a uniform out of your paycheck. The law says that employers must pay for uniforms that are unsuitable for their employees to wear outside of work. The company-branded uniforms we referenced earlier would meet these criteria. Your eligibility depends on your ability to wear the uniform outside of work. Your employer might owe you money if you can’t wear your work uniform as suitable attire at any other place but your job. California law states that employers cannot deduct funds from their workers’ paychecks for such uniforms. You can speak to a reliable attorney if you’ve incurred such an expense. The attorney can fight to get your money returned to you as quickly as possible.  

Schedule a Consultation With Us Today

Now, you have more education about your rights with regard to an employee dress code. You can schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney at Aiman-Smith & Marcy if you feel as though your rights have been violated in any way. We’re in business to protect California workers and keep employers in line. Our mission is to ensure that California residents can work peacefully while they provide for their families. Our team of lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you have nothing to lose by scheduling a consultation. You may have compensation to gain, however. Contact us today to talk about your dress code concerns. We will fight for your rights.

Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986