The most recent lawsuit brought against retail giant Nike proves that no company, no matter how big or small, is immune to California’s labor laws. This past week, Nike was handed a wage and hour lawsuit in California. A former employee is responsible for bringing the suit against the athletic-wear powerhouse. According to Omran Hamid, the disgruntled employee, the company required the all employees to purchase their own uniforms, which is expressly prohibited by California Labor Code Section 2802.

Hamid further accused Nike of failing to provide minimum wage workers with itemized wage statements, information regarding sick leave, and information regarding paid time off in lieu of sick leave. Failure to provide this information to its employers, regardless of their wage class, is also a direct violation of California wage and hour laws.

Though Nike is allegedly in violation of several of California’s labor laws, it is the insistence that employees purchase and maintain their uniforms that is of primary concern. Hamid alleges that even though the employees at the retail outlet at which he worked earned minimum wage, they were mandated to not only buy their own uniforms, but also, Nike required them to keep “an up-to-date apparel of each season’s product line.”

Additionally, according to the lawsuit, “[Employees] are minimum wage earners, yet, are required to purchase the uniforms of an average of four times a year and on an ongoing basis and pay taxation on their value.” Forcing minimum wage earners to sustain such a wardrobe actually drops their wage below California’s minimum standards.

Though Nike’s “uniform” may differ than that of the traditional uniform outlined in Section 2802, the company is essentially forcing its employees to become walking, talking advertisements for them. Because of this, and because Nike specifically requires employees to purchase Nike apparel for work, the term “uniform” still applies, and as such, Nike is responsible for bearing the cost.

Hamid’s lawsuit, (Omran Hamid v. Nike Retail Services Inc.), details no less than 14 complaints against the retail giant, including allegations of illegal terms of employment and the unlawful collection or receipt of wages due.

A Pleasanton Employment Attorney Can Help Minimize Your Business’s Risk

While Nike has teams (yes, teams) of lawyers to fight on its behalf, small to medium sized businesses are not so fortunate. If you are in violation of California’s wage and hour laws, you may find yourself spending a small fortune on litigation, and even more on damages should you lose. To avoid this altogether, it is imperative that you remain in compliance with California’s labor laws. However, at Garcia & Gurney, ALC, we understand that it can be a difficult, if not impossible, task to keep up with the state’s ever-changing labor laws. That is where our employment attorneys come in.

Serving businesses throughout Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties, our employment lawyers can help you review your policies, contracts, and any other pertinent documents to ensure that you are in 100% compliance with California labor laws. If we notice any violations, we will identify them and advise you on how to eliminate them.

Do not let your company get sued over an oversight or misunderstanding; contact our Pleasanton employment law firm today at 925-468-0400 to schedule your initial consultation.