Employee refuses to wear new uniform

by Sly_Wood. Posted on Sep 15, 2020    0    47

Employee won’t wear the new uniforms I implemented. I confronted them and told them if they don’t wear it they have no job. They said they don’t feel comfortable. The new uniforms are a simple polo shirt. They have in the past tried to subtlety threaten me with litigation for simple things where they had no basis only to drop it. Now again they have asked me for a new uniform policy in writing.

This is absurd to me. I usually just google the scenario and copy and paste it to said employee and tell them, save that money you plan on spending on the lawyer. End of story. Basically doing that again now. But they sent me messages again later on saying they feel uncomfortable wearing my new polos for personal, health, and religious reasons....

I told them, wear the uniform Monday or you’re out. They said they will be using hoodies and sweaters to cover it but will follow “company policy”. This after they said that in the summer they won’t be able to wear said polos due to heat.... so their answer is to cover the polo with a hoodie...

This employee has always been reliable but also rebellious at every step. GPS? I don’t feel comfortable. Well it’s company policy. Oh ok. Punching in and out not comfortable with the time keeping. Literally always caves but it’s annoying. He subtlety threatened me With a lawyer saying he needed the day off with pay to go vote. I told them you can go vote but you need to use sick or vacation days for it and cited actual Labor laws in my state.

So yea.

Thoughts? I’ve been suggested they maybe were in a gang at some point and are terrified of my colors and/or looking weak in the neighborhood wearing a polo. They said that to me actually today, that they also don’t want to look like a chum or target something like that...


procrux 1

Trust your gut OP. Sounds like the kind of person who's always looking for friction. Not someone I'd want on my team.

  Sly_Wood 1

Yea, I’m tired of them now. I’m going zero tolerance Monday for their nonsense now.

The_S_Is_For_Sucks 1

Sounds like it's less about the shirt and more about your management abilities.

If you don't like them, fire them, but I'll say that I'm really skeptical of someone who needs to use GPS to track their employees and requires them to use sick days or vacation to go vote. Sounds pretty skeev. If my employer did that, I'd just quit and look for a better company, instead of being a pain in the ass, though.


Following the law is skeev? Google your state. I encourage everyone to vote and they all have their own shifts and can vote on their own time. He tried to threaten me basically to have a day off because I never did a background check and don’t know if he has a felony on his record because I don’t care. When politics come up he never has anything to share. I’m certain he doesn’t vote so your petty post actually skeevs me. Not happy go vote in your state to change the law. I was clearly in the right regardless of their intention.

The_S_Is_For_Sucks 1

No one called it illegal. But I tend to work for people with actual ethics, who go above and beyond the minimum requirement dictated by law.

I've found that acting ethically (or working for an ethical boss) removes the chance for your petty gripes, because this kind of stuff only happens in places with a poor office culture.

The shit runs downhill, as I always say.

ETA: it's incredibly weird and unprofessional that you need to know his political leaning before allowing him his civic duty. If you're discussing politics that much in the workplace, that honestly tells me all I need to know. Good luck, buddy.

(If he needs a day off that badly, there's likely a reason.)


He doesn’t, my state has no issues in polling areas. 30 minutes to vote for me. There are no issues and you’re a circle jerk redditor trying to act smug online. Appreciate your initial attempt to help but your circle jerk bosses are bad let’s do yoga at work is stupid and petty. Situations like customers talking about trump in the blue state bring up politics. This one employee the only one who wanted THE ENTIRE DAY OFF, always said he doesn’t follow politics only to one day say his lawyer said I needed to pay him for him to take the day off and vote. THATS HOW HE ASKED. I googled the situation and screenshot and sent it to him. LAW STATES: no an employer does not have to compensate for this. Matter of fact. I caught him in a lie where he tried to threaten litigation that didn’t exist.

You and your accusatory demeanor can go fuck yourself. I treat my employees great. And after a long day yea I’m going to say go fuck yourself again douchebag.


Sure, totally, that wasn't a word salad, made total sense, and you're definitely not an unhinged pain in the ass.

PS: since you didn't get it the first time, the reason he needs off is because your workplace is a horrible place to be.


You’re just talking out of your ass. I’m almost certain you’re not a business owner and I always have people ready to work for me because I’m actually a great owner. Your petty redditor against the man nature is silly and you’re accusing someone you know nothing about about things I’m certain you know nothing about.

Learn to read I guess?

Top to bottom left to right: the employee threatened litigation to take an entire day in a district that takes 15–30 minutes to vote only for me to show him a quick google search calling out his bullshit. He never brought up voting again. I never have issues with employees like this except him. If an employee asked me to vote I’d let them as I often let people go without clocking out for certain circumstances.

One things certain you’re no business owner and you’re here for personal reasons seemingly to attack. Go screw yourself.

The_S_Is_For_Sucks 1

Yeah, again super normal and usual response from a balanced individual. Also definitely not changing your story the more you write.

I award you a single yike to remind you of that time that you supposed someone wasn't a business owner, cuz your crazy ramblings make you sound like a real piece of work. Congratulations on the prize!


You don’t sound like one. And adding details to a story is changing it? Lol ok. Would hate to work for you because you sound weird so you get a weirdo award from me.

nimble_fox 2

OP please update on this one, as you can tell a lot of people take very different views on this. I managed 130 headcount before starting my own business. I am not saying my way is best or anything like that, but I am really questioning the management experience of people saying just let it slide. It is inviting employees to question things you roll out. While you should allow feedback to decisions there is a correct time and place for that. Not after you've made the decision and rolled it out to the team. Just my .02

  Sly_Wood 1

My Max headcount is at 15 and I have everyone listen except this one person. So I think I have a good handle on things even though I’m too lenient on certain things. I’ve had employees essentially steal from me and I let it go and them as well with no consequence other than they will never be employed by me again. I have people disappear for the same reason because they take home projected pay as I pay weekly. So me not doing background checks and paying upfront and letting them handle cash is me being way too lenient. This uniform issue is just pure silliness to me because like I explained, I am going to fire anyone who doesn’t abide. The question is how quickly. There’s no room for i subordination like this as I know they’re challenging me and trying to see how ‘weak’ I am I guess.

nimble_fox 2

Best of luck to you OP. When I first became a manager I was 27 years young and my team was 16 men and women who were mostly older than me and much more experienced. I found it very difficult to find my personal middle ground and was super friendly one day and then super strict the next. I had issues finding my center.

I went to someone who I felt was a mentor and got the advice that when making any decision about personnel where I wasn't sure....he told me, 'just tell them you will think about it...there is no reason to make a decision then and there. Go back to your office or home, take 1-2 days and think it through"....if you make any deals with personnel would you be willing to make it for everyone? What about every day? Extra time off? Extra pay? Extra breaks at work?

If you are still unsure, the answer is no, or the answer is, I'm still not sure, so for now it is no.

I really wish you the best, at the end of the day it is you business and you are the boss. Consider some management classes. Someone else mentioned an employee handbook. Ask yourself, what is grounds for termination at my business? Someone stealing is 100% grounds for termination. Showing up intoxicated, gone. Missing a shift without calling, gone. Missing a shift and calling, 1 and final warning is totally appropriate.

Put on paper and then don't follow your own rules, no exceptions. Your employees who follow the rules will appreciate that they are treated fairly, those that don't follow the rules shouldn't be there anyways.

Best of luck,

  Sly_Wood 1

Thanks for the advice. I took over the company completely when I was 27. I never wanted to but was put in the position to do it or walk away as if folded. I saved the company and turned it around but I’m a lot like what you described yourself as. I’m super strict when I have to be and too lenient as well. So I too need my center. Thanks again.

Masterplan1000 3

This is going to damage morale if you allow it to slide, I would look into getting rid of them legally as soon as possible. You definitely don’t need a gang member who is challenging your authority and trying to find loopholes to not wear company uniform.

  Sly_Wood 1

I’m going to have an official company uniform policy. With 3 strikes probably. If I find them not wearing the uniform they’ll be written up. 2nd time will be another write up with a final warning. 3rd is termination.

Everyone else is completely onboard with my uniforms. They’re actually pretty cool. Most of us believe this person was likely in a gang at some point but we don’t know. They’re literally shady all the time.

Writermss 1

Three strikes is maybe too lenient. Can you make it a requirement that they need the uniform to perform the job and refusal is considered an automatic resignation?

I just think that they can play with you between the strikes. You are delaying the inevitable.

  Sly_Wood 1

Yea you’re probably right. I’m just reluctant to be that kind of boss. But at the same time my leniency is what causes these situations. I’ll figure it out.

GearsNimports 3

Terminate them. If you let it go on, other employees will start to pick up on their ways. “Well if Johnny can do this, then why can’t I?”

One bad apple ruins the lot. If they want to decide how the company works, then they can start their own damn business. You the boss, you make the calls

  Sly_Wood 3

I don’t want legal issues so I’ll be giving strikes. 2nd uniform violation will come with a warning for termination and the 3rd is just straight up termination.

Rivermill 6

What the fuck? Write up an employee handbook with rules and outline the consequences. They sign it or don’t work.
Meanwhile I would hire one or two more part time people who WILL comply and either the other do or don’t and get fired. The new people get some of their hours

  Sly_Wood 1

Pretty much what I’m going to do tomorrow and have it implemented Monday. It’s just this one person. Really fucking weird. Everyone literally loves the unis and I didn’t make them pay for them like my competitors do. And my competitors are billion dollar companies...

Edit: wasn’t trying to be deuchy here I just threw in my competitors because I’m super small and I treat my guys well. So I bought the uniforms and gave them each enough for their weekly shirts. Something a lot of major companies don’t do as they force employees to buy them. I think that’s pretty shitty.

smallfranchise1234 9

Get rid of them. Undermining your authority. Making you look weak.

Wear the uniform Monday or your fired. That's all.

Keep records of whatever you can.

They don't have to put their uniform on until they arrive at work for their shift that easy. If they are afraid of colors or being uncomfortable then bring it in a bag but it on at work.

The back and forth you guys do just makes you look weaker and other employees will try to get away with things. Threatened to sue go right ahead. Also if they arrive at work without the uniform send them home with a warning. You only get 1 warning


WTF! well, are shirts more important than getting the job done

smallfranchise1234 2

Not only about the shirts, read the post. Employees a problem overall something as simple as a uniform is the icing on the cake.

falljames 1

I understand, my comment was, you know they do the work, do you want to risk hiring someone that wears the polo and maybe not performs or has no clue what they’re doing? just saying weight your options, give and take, they cave on some stuff you gotta be reasonable, and not only on the shirts.

agcoustic 2

No one should keep an insubordinate or toxic employee on staff no matter how good they are. They ruin the culture of the company by poisoning the well with other employees and undermining your authority. My biggest hiring mistakes have been not firing people fast enough because they were "good at their job" but absolutely toxic to be around. It was crazy how much better other employees performed after they were let go. I would have let this guy go as fast as legally possible on the first legal threat. That's ridiculous.


stop lying to yourself, as soon as you let one employee go, everybody else thinks they’re next so it affects morale and performance, THAT makes the workplace more toxic than any employee. it’s statistically proven. You should focus on hiring better instead of firing people. And if you’re one of those, stop making deals with other companies to hire their employees if they give you kick backs, just to get rid of them yourself. That’s shitty on both sides. Some of you are the reason we have laws to protect workers. I’m not saying specifically OP.

agcoustic 1

What the hell are you even talking about? I'm sure you are extremely qualified and experienced at managing employees. What's your current headcount? I've never made deals with other companies to hire employees. After every time an employee is let go we have a staff meeting explaining why. We have accountability and processes so everyone is clear on how they are doing. No one thinks they will get fired next in our company.

Our hiring process is extremely solid and involves my entire leadership team to make those decisions. We are constantly looking for A players to join and as a result we have a low churn rate, well paid and happy employees. Do you know what doesn't make a high performer happy? Sticking them with a toxic employee that threatens to sue the company for wearing a shirt.

I'm sure none of this will matter to you. I'm sure it doesn't matter that I've had employees reach out to leadership and thank us for removing someone that was being an asshole from the team. We coach and train our employees, help them with personal growth etc. I greatly appreciate my employees and do my best to keep them. Sometimes though they just aren't a good fit.


i’ve never been happy for someone getting fired, your employees suck. Good for the guy who got fired. But you’re right in one thing, I don’t care. I was talking in general, I didn’t say it was you, don’t take it so personal, it’s reddit, I don’t even know you, maybe if we met we would even be friends. Honestly i’d give those two guys a hoodie with the shirt so they don’t have an excuse to use their hoodie on top of the company shirt. i mean it’s still about a shirt right? that’s the problem to solve today. because if it’s about firing them this is not the place to get legal advice, as i said earlier. I could be the guy you’re trying to fire, who knows 🤷🏻

edit: i’ll leave you guys to discuss firings now. off my soap box.

nimble_fox 3

OP made a decision on their business, the employees need to follow that decision power, it is OP's capital at risk it is his/her job to run their business the best way that they can.

falljames 1

exactly, so if OP fires the two guys OP doesn’t have workers to do the job, until OP finds new hands OP is in big dudu. I just said weight the options, is it worth it?


I’d rather handle the job of 3 employees rather than keep 3 bad employees or even one who undermines me. I have 3 people out on vacation right now but I still told this person if you don’t wear the uniform you don’t have your job. It’s that simple. They said ok only to send me stupid texts later implying that legally they might fight it. This is shit you don’t let pass. Rules need to be uniform, no pun intended, or else you lose all power and credibility.

falljames 1

then do their work, if you can do their job, why did you hire them in the first place? they may have been in a better job with a better boss right now. you did not help them by hiring them, you limited their options.


No because I’ll go insane. That’s the point of having employees. Can I do the work? Yes but I’ll lose customers due to time and it’ll kill me long run. But I don’t let people affect how I run the business because my system is good. I treat everyone great but if they can’t follow the rules they need to be taken out of the equation. Otherwise the whole structure tumbles. I always have people asking to work because I pay well and work hard with my employees. So even if I’m short handed I would still fire an employee like this one if they threaten me or the business, which they’re doing.

falljames 1

then you should do better at screening before hiring, maybe that’s the problem. but you can’t be changing the rules once they’re working there or they will feel you tricked them and you’re not loyal to them, why would they listen to you about a shirt?