Can an employer deduct money paid for steel toe work boots after employment ends?

I signed a paper at start of employment to pay back for uniforms if terminated before 1 year. They deducted money at end of employment but under MN Statute 177.24 they reimbursed me for shirts but they didn’t reimburse me for the safety shoe money. Is it legal for them to charge me for them? Do they fall under “uniform?” The paper said specifically “uniform.”

Asked on July 23, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I would think that you have a very good case for reimbursement if one, the shoes were a necessary part of the uniform required for employment and two, they told you that you would be reimbursed and three, they reimbursed you for the other portions of your uniform.  I would write them a letter enclosing the bill and indicating that they forgot to include payment for the shoes when they reimbursed you for your uniform as per your agreement.  May I ask: did you return the other portion of the uniform and not the shoes? That may be an issue. If they balk about it you may have to sue them for it and would that be worth it?  How much are the shoes?  I agree that their behaviour is not proper but fighting them may not be cost effective.  Good luck.

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