Court: In-N-Out Doesn’t Have the Right to Control Employee Uniforms

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 their 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.”

To keep reading, click here: Court: In-N-Out Doesn’t Have the Right to Control Employee Uniforms

Related Posts

7 thoughts on “Court: In-N-Out Doesn’t Have the Right to Control Employee Uniforms

  1. Completely absurd decision. This continuing erosion of management rights will lead to chaos in the workplace. Are there any decisions management can make which will not be opposed and eventually upheld by and agency or the courts?

  2. I also disagree. So these pins are advocating better wages….what if the next pin is a dirty picture? a crude joke? a sexist phrasing? What if it says “eating beef gives you cancer” or “eating french fries makes you fat” or some other comment that attacks the company’s own customer base?
    Yes, there’s a right to discuss wages. But the pins weren’t a disucssion of wages about THIS company. They were a statement on wages in general. It’s not a uniform issue as much as it is a speech issue. And employers should be able to restrict speech. I think the courts blew it on this one.

  3. Court decision hinged on text printed on pin which falls under a protected activity for employees. While employers may disagree, employees do have the right to organize and discuss work conditions and work environment. Wage falls under that. Most likely if the pin depicted a “dirty picture” or “crude joke” the court would have decided in favor of the employer.

    I agree with Suzanne that when employees are treated well and fairly compensated, those employees won’t need to organize and ask for decent and acceptable work conditions and a decent and acceptable work environment.

    1. Judith, that’s my point. These workes weren’t wearing pins pertaining to their *specific* wages or their *specific* workplace, which would be protected. They were wearing pins that commented on general poliitical/social issue that happend to be about wages.
      That’s different. I think the employer was in the right asking for the pins to be removed.

      1. It doesn’t need to be an issue that is specific to their workplace. As long as it pertains to their workplace, then it’s protected.

        If everyone in the organization where earning at least $15 per hour, you can be sure that In-N-Out would have made that case.

  4. In this specific employer business, all parts of the uniform (including pins) are supplied by the employer. So wearing another type of pin ( as in the Fight for $15) is not allowed by the handbook. The court did not rule correctly in this situation, as the non-supplied pin wearing is prohibited by handbook during working hours. Those company issued pins (like holiday specials, etc) are covered under the term “company-issued”. Which clearly means no other pins allowed. Obviously, those involved in the court have never worked in jobs with uniform requirements. This is very common in blue-collar non-skilled jobs.

    1. I do think the Court overstepped here, but from reading Suzanne’s and two other summaries of the case, the employer might have won this case if they had included the charity and Christmas pins in their dress code. They didn’t, so those pins count as an exception to their uniform policy. Once they start making exceptions, they need to be very careful about where they draw the line.

Comments are closed.

Are you looking for a new HR job? Or are you trying to hire a new HR person? Either way, hop on over to Evil HR Jobs, and you'll find what you're looking for.