I'm under a doctor's care, wearing an orthopedic shoe.

My company is making me buy a closed toe orthopedic shoe. I had toe surgery.

I’m a cashier. Can they do that? Are there good resources to find out if this is acceptable in my location?

  • 6
    Could you please indicate your location? State, country, whatever applies
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 18:28
  • 7
    Folks, don't be too hasty on the Close votes. Give OP some time to edit and improve the post. With location and a bit more context this could well be answered by some user knowledgeable in HR or these sort of things. Just sending to Law wont' help due to the details needed to be clarified
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 18:29
  • 2
    @Ertai87 that's why it's courteous to wait at least some time to see if OP edits and rephrases. Not saying this is not unclear as of now, as it is and needs more details, but at least explain to OP what can be improved
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 18:32
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    @DarkCygnus: The whole point of closing (rather, putting "on hold") is to give OP time to improve the question, while avoiding answers that will be invalidated by the edits. So everything's ok :-).
    – sleske
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 18:36
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    Is your doctor telling you that there is a medical reason to need an open toed shoe that can't be met by an orthopedic closed toe shoe your employer is asking you to use instead? Or does your doctor not really care about open/ closed as long as it is an appropriate orthotic shoe and just happened to give you an open toed shoe? Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 19:10

2 Answers 2


If the company is meeting the laws required by your locality, region/state, and nation, then they are well within their requirements and could make a reasonable argument that the closed-toe orthopedic is providing much more safety as it is protecting your foot against further injury while at a register. (Things get dropped all the time, I know, I've worked the register)

More information may be gleaned from your local government agency governing employee safety, but if they are requiring a standard of safety that is HIGHER than what your doctor is recommending, and it serves the purpose the doctor has ordered and does not countermand medical advice, then again, they are completely within their rights.

  • If the doctor says an open-toed shoe is required, the situation changes somewhat. Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 17:51
  • @DavidThornley exactly, if it countermands medical advice, the company's assertions are null and void Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 18:00

Disclaimer: Not a lawyer.

I recommend you look at the details of your employment contract. A company can absolutely not allow you to work if you do not have a proper uniform and shoes. In jobs that require manual labor, open toed shoes are dangerous.

For resources in the USA, I would look at the OSHA requirements:

The OSHA occupational foot protection standard at 29 CFR 1910.136(a) requires the use of protective footwear when employees are working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, and where there is a possibility of the employee's feet being exposed to an electrical hazard.

  • Not sure if a Cashier would work in an area in danger of foot injuries, but checking OSHA is a great idea
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 19:12
  • If you are near heavy objects such as large boxes and wood pallets (common to the back of grocery stores), you are required to wear close toed shoes. Even a cashier at a coffee shop could have their foot crushed by a coffee machine.
    – jcmack
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 19:14
  • I see. It will help to know OPs locale and workplace layout
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 19:16
  • 1
    @DarkCygnus, doesn't even need to be that heavy, imagine dropping a can of soup on an unprotected foot/toe.
    – cdkMoose
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 20:39
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    @DarkCygnus having worked as both a cashier and software engineer, I can tell you it is 1000x more likely I would drop something as a cashier than an engineer...
    – enderland
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 23:03

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