My job currently is making all cashiers share a vest which meaning everyone is wearing it without being washed. Which is completely unsanitary. Is there anything against that saying they can't make us wear them. And if we refuse to wear it they send us home without pay.

What can I do about this?

  • 3
    What country is this?
    – Jane S
    May 13, 2016 at 2:50
  • See past discussion of work uniforms for some related comments. Also, what's your actual question?
    – keshlam
    May 13, 2016 at 5:46
  • 1
    "if we refuse to wear it they send us home without pay" - can you clarify what happened in this exchange? You: "I don't want to wear this vest because it isn't clean." Employer: "You are being sent home without pay.". Did you complain about it and something like that really happened?
    – Brandin
    May 13, 2016 at 7:28
  • 6
    unsanitary? Come on, it's not underwear. It's something that's going on over clothes, like an apron. I've seen plenty of cases where someone grabs a hi-viz vest before escorting kids across the road, or puts on the "I'm the volunteer" vest when they get to the booth. What are you going to catch from that?" It might be more convenient to have one each, but "health hazard" is taking things too far. May 13, 2016 at 13:31
  • 1
    In my forestry days there was all sorts of unwashed gear we had to use at different times, gloves, helmets, goggles, vests etc,. refusing to wear them would get you sent home without pay, probably permanently.
    – Kilisi
    May 14, 2016 at 7:27

1 Answer 1


First of all, thats unfortunate. Can your store really not afford another vest?

You can try (and should try first) to solve this non confrontationally. You can make the case that its hurting producitivity (shared vest means infections spread faster -> more people take more sick days) and that vests aren't very expensive.

I know it might hurt, but if all other attempts at convincing them not to do this don't work, depending on how expensive that vest is, you could offer to buy your own for yourself.

As for the legality of this (I am not a lawyer, so take this with a grain of salt) it depends on your country. Multiple countrys in the EU for instance have workplace health regulations that would cover this under being a needless hazard to your health. Your mileage may vary in the US though. (You can still consult a lawyer about it if you're feeling that strongly)

  • 1
    +1 In the US, OSHA would be all over this like a bad rash. OSHA has an anonymous hotline that someone can call to report workplace safety. YMWV on this, these are federal work safety standards May 13, 2016 at 13:12
  • @JoeStrazzere If they're not cleaning the vest, OSHA will get involved. It's a health hazard. Share a vest and you're sharing contagions. OSHA is CLEAR on that. visit their site. May 13, 2016 at 19:01
  • @JoeStrazzere the Canadian Centre for occupational health also goes into some detail on this. May 13, 2016 at 19:44

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