Washington Dress Codes laws & HR compliance analysis

Washington Dress Codes: What you need to know

An employer that requires uniforms must pay the full cost for the uniform (WA Rev. Code Sec. 49.12.450). A "uniform" is defined as:
• Clothing clearly identifying the person as an employee of a specific employer;
• Apparel specially marked with the employer's logo;
• Unique apparel to identify historical or ethnic background; or
• Formal attire.
If required clothing is of a common color and conforms to a general dress code or style, the employer is not responsible for the cost. Only the following are considered common colors:
• Tops: white, tan, and blue (including light and dark variations of those colors)
• Bottoms: tan, black, blue, and gray (including light and dark variations of those colors)
The definition of “employer” under the Washington Minimum Wage Act is broad and may include workers who are traditionally classified as independent contractors (Anfinson v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc., 174 281 P.3d 289 (Wash. 2012)).
Termination of employment. An employee and employer may agree orally or in writing that the employer may deduct the cost of uniforms provided by the employer if the uniforms are not returned by the employee at the time of termination. This type of deduction cannot reduce the employee's wage below the state minimum wage.
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The Washington State Supreme Court held that state law allows a claim for failure to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious practices under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) (Kumar v. Gate Gourmet, Inc., 325 P.3d 193 (Wash. 2014)). In addition, employers covered by federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (those with 15 or more employees) must accommodate the ...

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