CA law on clothing.


Well-Known Member
Ok got asked this today didnt have an answer. I was asked by a Loss Prevention Professional who is "required" to dress a certain way. He is under the impression that a California law exists on this that might apply. He is required (according to him) to wear "shiny shoes" or polished. Now asking a person to wear "dress shoes" is one thing but many dress shoes look very nice but dont require being polished or maybe based on material cant be. Now the California law he believes exist he believes makes this request an issue for business to resolve and that they (the business) must provide the item in this case shoes. They are to look professional (others in store not) and polished shoes is one requirement. So does this law exist if so can someone provide me a link to it so I can print it to take to him.
The only employer that requires a person to polish her/his shoes is the US military in its several forms.

Some police agencies required it years ago, but with the advent of special soles and boots for law enforcement, I don't know of one that requires it for daily wear.

Of course, certain ceremonial events require more formal attire.

Bottom line, in California I don't think there would be a law even close to requiring some one to polish her/his shoes, as many shoes today aren't leather and can't be shined, or in the case of some pleathers, they come permanently shined.

I think your guy is mistaken.

However, that doesn't mean he can't be terminated for looking unprofessional, in the eye of his superior.
No the law he believes exit is that since employer states "polished shoes" is a must that the employer must supply this! I agree many dress shoes are made of material that cannot be polished but still meet any requirement for "business attire." Because this is a min wage job or close buying these kind of shoes could be outside of their budget. But person who approached me thinks CA has a law that would "force" employer to supply shoes if this is indeed a MUST!
person who approached me thinks CA has a law that would "force" employer to supply shoes if this is indeed a MUST!

As near as I can determine this is what he could be talking about.

Your CA Labor Code, section 2802 (a) provides that "the employer shall indemnify his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties, or of his or her obedience to the directions of the employer...."

Briefly stated, if that's possible with "legalese" says: If an employer requires employees to wear a uniform, the employer must purchase and pay for maintenance and cleaning of the uniform.

It would seem that if the employer requires "dress shoes", under the aforementioned Labor Code, the employer would be required to buy the clothes and shoes, as well as provide money for maintaining the shoes and clothing.

The term "uniform" is broad. It means "wearing apparel of distinctive design or color."

The term "distinctive design" covers traditional "uniforms," such as one worn by law enforcement officers.

The definition of "uniform" also includes clothing of a particular "color" even if the clothes do not have an insignia or are not of a particular design.

An example might be, if the employer requires workers to wear a red shirt, even one without an insignia, the employer must pay for it because it is of "distinctive" color.

One might try to make the argument about "black, dress, polished shoes".

Employers seeking to avoid paying for clothing specify "dark" pants and "light" colored shirts instead of particular colors.

If you are required to wear black pants and shoes, but there is no requirement for the shirt, you are in a half-way no-man's-land.

The same issue if it's just "black polished shoes", rather than "Brand XYZ black shoes, highly polished".

However, if an employee pushes too hard, the employer often pushes back.

This is a very treacherous road he's about to tread.
If uniforms must be worn, the employer must provide them at no cost to the employee, particularly if it would result in the employee making less than minimum wage. If the employer dictated a specific shoe that had to be worn, that would qualify as a "uniform". If it was an article of clothing that could not realistically be worn outside the workplace, that too would constitute a uniform. "Shiny shoes" do not. That just falls under dress code and is entirely legal. Such shoes can be picked up at virtually any shoe store and could be worn off work without raising eyebrows.
Just to add...providing uniforms as discussed above only applies to non-exempt employees.

I don't believe the shoes must be provided in this case. It isn't any different than requiring an employee to wear a collared shirt.

Your friend is part right. There are laws about this sort of thing, but it doesn't apply regarding his shiny shoes.