New Uniform Policy... ugh!

  1. 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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    About snarkosaurus

    Joined: Jan '14; Posts: 1


  3. by   tntrn
    Your uniform expenses will be tax deductible if not reimbursed by your facility.
  4. by   amoLucia
    Great shades of parochial grammar school!!!
  5. by   applesxoranges
    In my state, it is only illegal if you wage drops below minimum wage but then they can take it out over multiple checks.
  6. by   morte
    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.
  7. by   morte
    if you still have receipt/garment still tagged, return them.
  8. by   Esme12
    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.
  9. by   DoGoodThenGo
    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.
  10. by   applesxoranges
    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.
  11. by   Ruby Vee
    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!
  12. by   NicuGal
    Our hospital decided to put us in all black after wearing our choice of scrubs for years. So many of us went out and bought all black scrubs to the tune of about $200. One month into the change 6 units, mine included, were told we would be getting hospital issues scrubs to be laundered at the facility. Now we have $200 worth of scrubs we bought and can not wear and these hideous scrubs that are itchy and cheap. No compensation.

    Oh and hospital clinical engineering, OT/PT also wear black so there goes the identifying RN's concept.
  13. by   DoGoodThenGo
    All this running around in circles to solve a problem largely self created by the profession (surprise). You want to be easily (or instantly) recognized as a nurse? Answer is the same as it has always been; whites or similar uniform and a cap! *LOL*
    You'll have persons both on your way and back from duty as well as all during calling you "nurse" to the point you'll soon grow weary of the word. *LOL*

    But seriously folks you'd think with all the other more pressing issues to worry about uniforms (or lack thereof) would be something easily sorted.
  14. by   NewYorkerGirl
    I did an OR rotation where I had to change into hospital-required scrubs, and those scrubs were NOT built for a woman's body. The largest scrub pants had my waistband falling off, yet so tight in the butt and hips that I expected to split the pants, and tight in the chest on the largest size to where I couldn't move effectively. No curves allowed in the OR! It scares me away from OR/IR because it's hard to do a good job when you are so uncomfortable.