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Employment Lawyers Leveraging more than 70 Years of Experience to Support New York Clients Facing Work Uniform Disputes


We help you understand the laws governing mandatory uniforms

In many business settings, a uniform appearance aids customers in identifying employees. Because of this, uniforms have long been required of individuals in many industries and occupations. While this is beneficial for employers and customers alike, many employees are left holding the bag for the costs of the uniform and its care.

At Hepworth, Gershbaum & Roth, PLLC, our New York employment lawyers believe in shielding employees from avoidable costs of uniform maintenance. We know how difficult it can be to make ends meet while working at the minimum wage. We also know how important it is to save money whenever and wherever possible, including on the costs of uniforms.

Can New York businesses require employees to wear work uniforms?

Under state law, any organization may require its employees to wear a standardized uniform consisting of any combination of pants, shirt or head wear. It is up to the discretion of the organization to set and maintain standards for uniform wear and care. The organization may choose to subsidize the costs of uniforms, or deduct the full costs of the clothing from the employee’s wages.

The law does offer some support to employees at the minimum wage level, however. Any organization that requires minimum wage employees to purchase and wear a standardized uniform must then provide financial support for the care of said uniform. The organization has the option to pay the employee for the costs of care, or to perform the care itself.

This prevents the employee’s wages from falling below the minimum level.

What qualifies as a work uniform?

While the law does require businesses to require mandatory uniforms, the law places little to no restriction on what classifies as a uniform. In general, to qualify as a uniform, the article of clothing must bear the organization’s logo or specific styling and must be standardized across the organization. This leaves some question as to the organization’s responsibility to care for the uniform in question.

Here’s an interesting example; an organization that requires employees to wear black pants and a white shirt, but places no further restriction on the type, style or cut of shirt in question. This may not be classified as a uniform, since the employee has the option to purchase and wear a wide range of shirts and pant combinations. In this case, the employer may not be responsible for care of the uniform.

In another situation, an employer requires employees to wear black work pants and a green shirt bearing the company logo. To meet the requirements, the shirt can only be purchased from the organization. In this case, the organization may be responsible for care of the uniform, if the cost of care places the employee under the minimum wage.

Do I have legal options if my employer does not adhere to the law regarding uniform care?

If you make the minimum wage and are required to wear a uniform, your employer must cover the costs of care for the clothing. If your employer refuses to cover these costs, you may have legal options for recovering past expenses and avoiding future expenditures.

Discussing your case with a New York employment lawyer should help to shed light on the state’s uniform laws and your legal options.

Contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with a New York employment lawyer

The highly experienced New York employment law attorneys at Hepworth, Gershbaum & Roth, PLLC have the skill and knowledge needed to help you resolve disputes relating to the costs of uniform maintenance. Contact us online or call 212-545-1199 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your uniform concerns with one of our New York employment lawyers.




Contact an employment law attorney in New York today for a free initial consultation and determine whether you have a case. For a free initial consultation, you can contact us online or by phone.

CALL US TODAY! 212-545-1199