New Uniform Policy... ugh!

  1. 0
    I know MANY major hospitals around the country have switched to a color-coded system based on discipline (RNs wear navy blue, PCTs wear light blue, etc.).

    The hospital I work for has been discussing making such a change for several months, and in December 2013, came out with the list of the designated colors. The effective date for the new policy was to be March 1, 2014, so many of us started purchasing new scrubs in our assigned colors so as to avoid dropping a large amount of money in April.

    Last week, the final version of the policy was sent out...

    Not only are we required to wear a specific color, but we're also required to wear a specific BRAND which MUST be purchased from ONE vendor. Scrub tops are also REQUIRED to be embroidered (or have an embroidered patch stitched on) with the hospital logo, and we will have to pay the extra expense for the embroidery.

    We are NOT being compensated for the purchase of our scrubs, although we are getting a discount (27%) from the vendor. The final sale price of our scrubs has not yet been announced.

    To allow for us to comply with the new changes, the new effective date has been pushed back to March 31, 2014.

    Has anyone got any idea if this is even legal? I understand that requiring set colors is legal, but also dictating the brand and vendor??

    I'm planning on calling a few lawyers who practice in employment law, but I was curious if anyone had similar experiences out there.

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  3. 26 Comments...

  4. 1
    Your uniform expenses will be tax deductible if not reimbursed by your facility.
    sallyrnrrt likes this.
  5. 1
    Great shades of parochial grammar school!!!
    sallyrnrrt likes this.
  6. 2
    In my state, it is only illegal if you wage drops below minimum wage but then they can take it out over multiple checks.
    sallyrnrrt and Esme12 like this.
  7. 1
    Quote from tntrn
    Your uniform expenses will be tax deductible if not reimbursed by your facility.
    only if they are above the 7.5% floor of AGI.
    sallyrnrrt likes this.
  8. 0
    if you still have receipt/garment still tagged, return them.
  9. 2
    This varies state to a general rule yes they can not only make you they can charge you as long as your wage doesn't fall beneath minimum wage. Under federal law, an employer can require employees to buy a uniform and pay to have it cleaned, as long as the employee is still earning at least the minimum wage once these costs are subtracted. Many states see the issue differently, however. Some don't allow employers to charge employees for uniforms at all.

    The uniform purchase is tax deductible in most cases. You need to check with your states rules. It is legal to require you to purchase uniforms whether it is legal to charge you depends on your state.
    sallyrnrrt and Altra like this.
  10. 3
    Going back to the days of whites and caps schools and some hospitals had "preferred" uniforms and a designated vendor where one went to purchase. Leaving aside any benefits to the vendors financially by having a steady and some would say captive market, the school/hospital in theory can have some control over who can get their mitts on the things. Cuts down on impersonation one supposes the thinking goes.

    If a hospital is going to be telling staff, patients and so forth that *only* RNs will have "X" uniform then it is probably a good thing access to same is controlled as much as possible.
    ProfRN4, sallyrnrrt, and Esme12 like this.
  11. 1
    For us, it is that the colors they picked can vary drastically. Instead of the navy/royal blue, they chose caribbean blue and pcts wear teal. Unfortunately, teal colors vary drastically.
    Esme12 likes this.
  12. 0
    Sigh. Yes, they can do this. My hospital did this two years ago -- ostensibly for "patient satisfaction." It doesn't seem to have increased patient satisfaction any, but it has notably DECREASED staff satisfaction. And the patients still can't tell who their nurse is! Even though the color coding key is given to them on admission and explained to them at the start of each shift.

    The vendor that we are required to use has a crappy web site that doesn't play well (or at all) with Macs. So I have to use the work computers to order from them. Their customer service is so sub-par it's halfway to China and the quality of the fabrics they use is miserable. Uniforms fade very quickly and fall apart in a few months. Six months in, my uniforms looked so bad I had to replace them all. (The good news is that I put the old/faded/frayed sets of scrubs in my blizzard bag, so it can stay packed all winter.) Once you place your order, it can take up to two months for your scrubs to arrive, so order early.

    What I have learned from the experience is to buy my tops from the approved vendor, and prepare to replace them every six months. I buy my bottoms from the vendor's retail brand. The fabric is better quality and they last longer. That, and I'm glad I'm retiring next year!

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