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Can My Retail Employer Force Me to Buy Their Clothing?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by KStu, 24 April 2014.

  1. KStu

    KStu Guest

    I have been employed in the Retail Industry for 10 years now, and during that time I have had 3 employers that forced me to continuously buy their clothing.

    The general rule in all of these companies was that if it goes on sale, you can no longer wear it to work anymore, and will be required to purchase a new outfit.

    Can someone tell me if this is legal? I would like to know my employee rights before I discuss this issue with my boss!
     
  2. Seeker

    Seeker Active Member

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    It seems to me that that has been the general rule of the company that you're in. If that particular rule was stressed before you started working, then it means that you have accepted their terms and condition. That means to say that it was something that has been established right before you were not working in the company. In my opinion there is nothing you can do about it. But anyway, we might still need a lawyer to really say something about this. I'm also curious about it.
     
  3. KStu

    KStu Guest

    Thanks for responding! Unfortunately, I think you might be right! :( Retail is sending me broke!
     
  4. rebeccag

    rebeccag Well-Known Member

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    G'Day @KStu (and @Seeker)
    The answer varies on the situation. Assuming that you are paid under the Retail Award, it is a question of reasonableness.
    The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has a fact sheet with case studies named Uniforms & clothing in the retail industry.
    Based on your situation where new clothing/outfit must be purchased if your current clothing/outfit goes on sale, this is a likely breach of the reasonableness test under the Retail Award.
    Does your employer subsidise your clothing/outfit purchases at all?
     
    KStu, John R and winston wolf like this.
  5. Seeker

    Seeker Active Member

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    I don't think their employer is shouldering the cost of their uniforms which puzzled me too. KSTu said that their employer is making them buy their clothing. Isn't that odd?
     
    KStu likes this.
  6. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    Without presuming to provide a definitive answer,
    consider this from Fair Work:
    http://www.fairwork.gov.au/media-ce.../can-my-employer-tell-me-what-to-wear-to-work

    Some media reports from 2013 which may be informative:
    http://www.news.com.au/finance/work...nds8217-clothing/story-e6frfm9r-1226671442405
    and here:
    www.news.com.au/finance/exclusive-retailers-warned-on-forcing-staff-to-buy-pricey-clothes-for-shop-floor/story-e6frfm1i-1226248552323
    and here:
    www.hcamag.com/hr-news/retailers-warned-staff-dont-have-to-buy-your-product-176868.aspx

    Note also that different arrangements apply to clothing related to WHS (such as hi-viz).
    or to bona fide "uniform" more generally (especially if the latter is a condition of employment).

    Note also that an employer is required to pay the worker in money
    (that is, they can't give you part of your wages in, say, clothing)
    unless that is part of a bona fide salary sacrifice arrangement
    (about which there are separate rules again).
     
    KStu, Worldly1 and John R like this.
  7. KStu

    KStu Guest

    Thanks everyone for finding all this information for me! I will be sure to let you all know the result!
     

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