Is Your Employer's Dress Code Policy Unfair? | Blog | Aiman-Smith & Marcy
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Is Your Employer’s Dress Code Policy Unfair?

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.