Dress code changes not uniform requirements

The employer changed its policy of supplying a uniform top and requiring black pants and shoes as part of the dress code. It began to supply vests rather than tops, and extended the dress code to include a white shirt. The arbitrator found that the requirement to wear a white shirt was not part of the uniform and need not be supplied by the company.
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 12/02/2011

When a retail grocery store changed its dress code and ceased to provide employees with a uniform shirt, the union grieved.

Before 2002, employees at the store paid for their own work clothes. However, after that date, the employer instituted a hybrid approach to employee dress.

Employees were furnished with a “Uniform” shirt supplied by the company — at that time a green polo shirt decorated with the company logo. The terms governing the provision and maintenance of uniform shirts were spelled out in the collective agreement. However, with respect to implementation, Article 27.4 of the collective agreement said only this: “When the company decides to implement a uniform shirt, the following will apply.”