I’m working for a temporary service that is requiring us to purchase uniforms from them, is that legal?

Other employees have looked up this question and said it is not legal. My employer just seems to respond with “it is not illegal” and drops the conversation. No one has pressed the issue because they don’t want to lose there job.

Asked on July 27, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, it is legal. An employer may set any terms or conditions of employment it likes, including requiring specific clothing and even requiring it be purchased from the employer. That's not to say that there are not specific cases where it could constitute fraud--e.g. the uniform costs $500; they pay your $42.00 before firing you, and they do that regularly to people--but that doesn't change the fact that the employer (in this case the temporary service) can require employees to buy uniforms from them. There are some other limitations, such as some restrictions on how an employer might deduct cost from paychecks, if that's how it's doing it, but as a general principal, this is allowed, unfortunately.

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