A former In-N-Out employee is suing the West Coast burger chain over the requirement that employees must purchase their uniforms.
In-N-Out's dress code for employees requires them to wear white on white with black shoes. Because many employees for the chain work at near minimum wage, Tom Piplack argues that the required purchase forces employees below the state's minimum wage.
Piplack worked at In-N-Out for two years between 2016 and 2018. He believes the company should pay fines for violating labor law and that In-N-Out employees should be compensated for their already purchased uniforms.
This is not the first time that uniforms for low-wage jobs have come under fire. Disney was forced to pay $3.8 million in back wages to employees after they were found to be in violation of the Federal Labor Standards Act. The company made its employees purchase costumes and that cost pushed their wages below the federal minimum. In a news release about the fines, they reminded employers that "the financial burden of furnishing a uniform may not fall on the employee if it would reduce the employee’s net wages below the minimum wage."
It's also not the first time the burger chain has been sued over its dress code. In-N-Out lost a case against its workers in Austin after they attempted to bar them from wearing "Fight for $15" pins, showing their support for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. While the chain bans wearing pins, they make exemptions during fundraising drives throughout the year. Because of this, the ban on these specific pins was found to be against the law.