In California, when uniforms are required by the employer to be worn by the employee as a condition of employment, the uniforms must be provided and maintained by the employer. The term “uniform” includes wearing apparel and accessories of distinctive design or color (IWC Wage Orders Sec. 9). Clothing that is standard in the industry is not considered a uniform.
An employer may dictate the weight, color, quality, texture, style, form, and make of uniforms required to be worn by its employees (CA Labor Code Sec. 452).
At the end of an employment relationship, an employee must return uniforms furnished by the employer. An employee may provide the employer with prior written authorization to deduct from the employee’s last paycheck the cost of a uniform that is not returned to the employer at termination. Deductions are not allowed for normal wear and tear (IWC Wage Orders Sec. 9c).A reasonable deposit may be required as security for the return of the items furnished by the employer.