Can my employer require me to pay for my own safety clothing and equipment?

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Can my employer require me to pay for my own safety clothing and equipment?

My employer is requiring me to wear steal-toe-boots. I am a mechanic and have been wearing non-steal-toed boots for many years. Also, I am being required to purchase my own safety glasses. Are they required provide this at no cost to employees?

Asked on July 15, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

CA law allows employers to require employees to wear particular types of clothing or uniforms to work. If an employer requires non-exempt employees to wear a uniform, the employer must pay for and maintain it for the employee. However just what constitutes a "uniform" is not always clear. Basic wardrobe items which are usual and generally usable in the occupation are not uniforms. In other words, if an item can only be worn for a certain job related duty it is probably a uniform. On the other hand, if the required clothing can double as street clothes it is probably not a "uniform." The employer is not required to pay for that clothing. And steel-toed boots can be used and worn by you even off the job; so you'll have to pay for them (unless as otherwise required by OSHSB; see below).

That having been said, some safety equipment or protective apparel must be worn by employees as a matter of law. Proper safety equipment such as goggles, gloves or other accessories or apparel must always be provided by the employer if they are required by a regulation of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board.So your safety glasses are probably covered.


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