Recently, a California federal judge ruled that about 62,000 Abercrombie & Fitch employees could sue the retailer as part of a class action lawsuit after they claim that they were required to buy the company’s clothes.
According to ThinkProgress.com, Abercrombie’s “Look Policy” requires workers to wear “clothes, accessories and footwear that are similar in style and fit to the brand, and that are consistent with the current fashion season and colors.” The policy also states the clothes cannot be “clearly that of a competitor.”
Some plaintiffs’ involved in the lawsuit claim that they were told exclusively to buy Abercrombie clothes, in violation of California’s laws that prohibit businesses from coercing employees to purchase of anything of value from it. Abercrombie did not return comment following the ruling.
In addition to the clothing claims, which focus on coercion, a subclass involved in the lawsuit of minimum wage employees claims that they were forced to buy uniforms (Abercrombie clothes) without being reimbursed, in violation of labor laws.
Can an Employer Force Me to Wear a Uniform or Purchase its Clothes?
California has multiple laws pertaining to employee uniforms, monitored by the Department of Industrial Relations.
Under these laws, employers must reimburse employees for business expenses like uniforms. If your employer requires you to wear apparel and accessories of distinctive design and color, and it does not reimburse you for its purchase, you should speak to our labor attorneys about your legal rights.
Additionally, as stated above, in California, an employer cannot force you to purchase anything of value from it, including a uniform. If you work for a retailer that is forcing you to wear its clothes, you should either be reimbursed for the purchase or be given the items free-of-charge.
If believe that your employer is violating these laws, you should speak to our labor attorneys. You may be able to file a lawsuit seeking damages and/or back wages if your employer unlawfully deducted the cost of these items from your paycheck.
Any documentation that you can provide us that would indicate that you have not been reimbursed for clothing or a uniform would be tremendously helpful. You can contact us by using the request form or phone number located on this page.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob– Los Angeles employment attorneys