Is it legal for an employer to keep a uniform deposit even though you return all uniforms on last day of employment?

UPDATED: Apr 14, 2019

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Is it legal for an employer to keep a uniform deposit even though you return all uniforms on last day of employment?

A co-worker that quit working for the company I do said the never got a $400 uniform deposit back. I thought that it’s state law in CA that on last day of employment, any deposits taken for uniforms must be paid back on final check if uniform are all returned.

Asked on April 14, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a uniform deposit must be returned. That is not just labor law but also basic contract law: there was an agreement (even if unwritten) between employer and employee that the employee would be issued a uniform if he/she provided the deposit and also that the deposit would be returned if the uniform were returned in good shape. If the uniform were brought back in good shape and the deposit not returned, that is a breach of that agreement and the employee could sue in small claims for the money, if he/she wanted.

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