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An Issue With Work Clothes When Arriving For Work

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sandyclaus

Senior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

This isn't exactly a question of harassment as much as whether or not a particular policy is legally enforceable. This section seemed the closest match, so...

My son works at a nationwide shoe retailer. Their 'uniform' consists of pair of pants (jeans or khakis, well maintained), along with a company t-shirt that identifies them as an employee of the store, and a pair of the company's shoes. All in all, it's fairly casual, as long as the attire is clean and not in disrepair.

My son rides his bike to work every day. Since he is on that bike so much (along with the local public transportation, it's his regular method of getting everywhere), the pants/shorts he wears tends to wear heavily in the seat area. Of course, he doesn't want to come into work wearing a pair of pants that's wearing dangerously thin or which has holes in the crotch and backside, so he usually wears one of his pairs of cycling pants to work, and then proceeds to come in sufficiently early enough (30 minutes or more) to change into his work pants before his shift starts.

The store manager and district manager have recently warned my son of a new policy that says employees MUST arrive at work and leave the work premises with their work clothes on. They have specifically told him that he cannot change his clothes upon arrival to the store, but that he must be fully attired in those work clothes when he comes - regardless of whether or not he is early for his shift. Obviously, that is not feasible for him, as in order to comply he would either have to wear his work pants on his bike (and risk the excessive wear that happens) or go somewhere else to change before he actually walks into the building (but there are no local businesses where he can do that).

I understand that it's not illegal for them to require this, but it sure is a significant inconvenience. They have been unwilling to discuss the specific reasons for implementing the policy, but it would make sense that they shouldn't be able to dictate his clothing choices when he's not on the clock. It makes NO sense that they can't make some kind of exception as long as their employee arrives early enough to change clothes in their locker room before their shift starts.

He plans to go to the corporate HR office to inquire on Monday. Do any of you HR professionals have any suggestion on how he can best approach this discussion and negotiate some kind of exception to this policy in order to balance the needs of the company with his own needs in this situation?
 


LdiJ

Senior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

This isn't exactly a question of harassment as much as whether or not a particular policy is legally enforceable. This section seemed the closest match, so...

My son works at a nationwide shoe retailer. Their 'uniform' consists of pair of pants (jeans or khakis, well maintained), along with a company t-shirt that identifies them as an employee of the store, and a pair of the company's shoes. All in all, it's fairly casual, as long as the attire is clean and not in disrepair.

My son rides his bike to work every day. Since he is on that bike so much (along with the local public transportation, it's his regular method of getting everywhere), the pants/shorts he wears tends to wear heavily in the seat area. Of course, he doesn't want to come into work wearing a pair of pants that's wearing dangerously thin or which has holes in the crotch and backside, so he usually wears one of his pairs of cycling pants to work, and then proceeds to come in sufficiently early enough (30 minutes or more) to change into his work pants before his shift starts.

The store manager and district manager have recently warned my son of a new policy that says employees MUST arrive at work and leave the work premises with their work clothes on. They have specifically told him that he cannot change his clothes upon arrival to the store, but that he must be fully attired in those work clothes when he comes - regardless of whether or not he is early for his shift. Obviously, that is not feasible for him, as in order to comply he would either have to wear his work pants on his bike (and risk the excessive wear that happens) or go somewhere else to change before he actually walks into the building (but there are no local businesses where he can do that).

I understand that it's not illegal for them to require this, but it sure is a significant inconvenience. They have been unwilling to discuss the specific reasons for implementing the policy, but it would make sense that they shouldn't be able to dictate his clothing choices when he's not on the clock. It makes NO sense that they can't make some kind of exception as long as their employee arrives early enough to change clothes in their locker room before their shift starts.

He plans to go to the corporate HR office to inquire on Monday. Do any of you HR professionals have any suggestion on how he can best approach this discussion and negotiate some kind of exception to this policy in order to balance the needs of the company with his own needs in this situation?
Does he enter from the front of the store or from the back door? Its possible that they made rule specifically because they are uncomfortable with your son entering the front of the store in his bicycle shorts. If that is the case, then talking to corporate will make things uncomfortable and put his job at risk.

Either he negotiates with them to perhaps enter the back door in his bicycle shorts, or he is going to have to ride his bike wearing his regular clothing.
 

OHRoadwarrior

Senior Member
I agree, raising this issue is a bad idea and will result in drawing unfavorable attention. I would seriously revisit with him any available changing points on the way. Possibly you can think him out of the box.
 

eerelations

Senior Member
This is a perfectly legal policy. Complaining to HR could result in your son being fired, and this would be legal too.
 

csi7

Senior Member
What I did when I was riding a bicycle to and from work, and having to change prior to entering the workplace, was find a location near the workplace where I could pull off the shorts over the pants, tuck them in the bag, and continue on my way. Very quiet, very simple, and once the rule was changed in the workplace, we were allowed to change in the locker room-that took about six weeks.
 
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