Court Rules That Employers Can’t Control Everything On Employee Uniforms

Inc. Magazine reports:

“Employers have the right to require employees to wear uniforms, but they don’t have the right to completely control everything on the uniform, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals told In-N-Out.

Employees at an Austin, Texas, location wore ‘Fight for $15’ campaign buttons, and management told them to remove them, citing In-N-Out’s dress code, which required nine different parts: ‘white pants, a white shirt, white socks, black shoes, a black belt, a red apron, a gold apron pin, a company-issued name tag, and a hat,’ according to the Society for Human Resources.

Their handbook also stated that  ‘Wearing any type of pin or stickers is not permitted.’

This seems clear and legal, as companies can require dress codes. But, In-N-Out requires employees to wear buttons twice a year: for Christmas and to raise money for charity. The National Labor Relations Board said that indicated that there were no safety reasons for the ban, and that the dress code wasn’t enforced as strictly as it was written.

But, this doesn’t mean your employees can have a free-for-all on what they wear. The employees wished to wear a very specific pin: one that falls under a ‘protected concerted activity.’

This means, essentially, that employees were using their protected right to advocate for a raise. Employers are strictly forbidden from preventing employees from discussing employment conditions, including salaries.”

For the rest of the story, visit Inc. here.

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