I handled a case on behalf of an employee who was not reimbursed for the maintenance of his uniform. The employer required that his employees’ wear uniforms that were provided to them at no cost. These employees were required to maintain their uniforms in a clean and unsoiled manner. However, due to the nature of their job duties, their uniforms were exposed to different chemicals such as ink, grease, and other contaminants. As a result of the chemicals, these employees’ were forced to wash their uniforms separately from their everyday clothes.
California Labor Code § 2802, provides that employers must indemnify employees for all “necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties, or of his or her obedience to the directions of the employer, even though unlawful, unless the employee, at the time of obeying the directions, believed them to be unlawful”
When a California employer requires an employee to wear a uniform, the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC), obligate the employer to provide and maintain their uniform. The IWC also published a document titled “Uniforms- an Explanation of Industrial Welfare Commission Regulations”, which stated that “employees must maintain or provide a maintenance allowance for uniforms requiring special laundering for heavy soiled uniforms”
Therefore, if the job duties of the employee were such that their uniforms would get soiled with chemicals and/or ink, it is the employers’ responsibility to provide or reimburse the employee for their uniform maintenance.
The California employment lawyers at The Nourmand Law Firm can help you obtain a claim against an employer who fails to reimburse his employees’ for their uniform maintenance.