Am I legally obligated to dry clean a uniform if I was fired?

I was fired from a well known franchise and they are telling me that I have to
have they shirt I was provided dry cleaned out of my own pocket before I get my
last paycheck. I just want to know if it’s legal or not because I have never
heard of that before.

Asked on January 9, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You do have to return a uniform or any other property in the same condition in which you received it, which likely includes dry cleaning it so it will be clean when returned.
Legally, the employer may not withhold your paycheck for this reason: the law is clear that employee pay cannot be withheld if the employee owes the employer money or failed to do something, but can only be withheld with employee consent or if ordered by a court or the IRS (e.g. wage garnishment). You could theoretically bring a complaint to the department of labor, but since you likely are supposed to dry clean the uniform anyway, you will almost certainly get your money faster and more easily, and with less expenditure of your time, by simply doing the dry cleaning.


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