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Dress Code Policy for SONIC

Posted Sat October 17, 2009 5:44 pm, by Chris N. written to Sonic Corporation

Write a Letter to this Company

To Whom it May Concern,

My daughter works as a car hop at the local SONIC Drive-in Restaurant. My daughter informed me that she may not wear her personal coat while at work because employees are required to purchase a "SONIC" brand coat if they wish to wear a coat while working. I am writing to inquire if that is the expectation and would like to understand why an employee must purchase a "company" jacket if their work requires them to work outside and they are required to only wear approved SONIC wear.


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by batmoody Posted Tue October 20, 2009 @ 12:32 PM

Where I work (grocery store)if it is considered "Street Wear" we have
to pay for it. That includes our required black slacks, white shirts
and tie. We can wear a black cardigan or jacket if we are cold.The
idea behind that is that you can pretty much wear that stuff anywhere
and no one will take you for an employee of our store.

The only thing provided to us at no cost are the aprons and hats.There
are rainjackets provided as well for the baggers, but they are just
nasty and sweaty and moldy and dirty. I don't think I ever see anyone
wear them. I certainly haven't seen anyone take them all and wash

I find it ridiculous that an employee would be required to purchase a
Sonic jacket to keep warm. At least let them purchase a black cardigan
or jacket of their own to wear.I really hope they ease up on this
policy for the sake of your daughter!

by b d. Posted Tue October 20, 2009 @ 2:26 AM

i worked at a fast food restaurant when i was younger. they had the
same exact policy. luckily, they had two jackets hanging in the back
of the store that people could borrow. there were always more than two
employees, but we would just fight over them.

it was obvious that if someone was working at or near the drive thru
then they needed the jacket. there were times when i wore my own
jacket because it was FREEZING at the drive thru. i would just wear it
and are anyone to say something to me. of course, i didn't like to
wear it because that meant my jacket would end up smelling like the

i was lucky that there were extra jackets on hand...and that i was a
valuable employee. that is a normal policy for a lot of
restaurants...it might seem crazy, but it's a fact.

how many restaurants require you to buy your own slip resistant shoes?
or black pants? MOST of them do. jackets are no different. it's part
of it.

by BirmanCat Posted Mon October 19, 2009 @ 11:33 AM

Whether or not an employer can require that employees wear -- and pay
for -- a specific work "uniform" varies between states. For instance,
in Ohio employers may require that employees wear a uniform shirt (the
only piece of clothing specifically mentioned, with other clothing
requirements not covered) and also pay for that shirt.

The only restriction is that if the employee pays for the uniform
shirt via payroll deduction, the cost of the shirt cannot cause the
paycheck to fall below minimum wage requirements. However, the
employer can spread the cost of the uniform over a number of paychecks
so that the paycheck meets the minimum wage requirement.

In some states, an employer may require that an employee wear and pay
for his/her uniform. The best source for determining whether or not
your state has "uniform" requirements is to check with your state
Department of Labor.

Generally speaking, if state law doesn't specifically prohibit
employers from requiring employees to wear a uniform and pay for it,
then the employer may do so.

Also, please don't forget that if a uniform is required and the
employee pays for it, it's an allowable tax deduction under IRS rules.


You are right,... by Harleycat Mon October 19, 2009 @ 5:04 PM

by Giselle Posted Mon October 19, 2009 @ 9:03 AM

If they are required to wear a Sonic jacket, then Sonic should supply
it. It is not fair, in my opinion, for this company to expect minimum
wage workers to "buy" something in order to be able to work.


Less than minimum wage by MA Cunningham Mon October 19, 2009 @ 9:23 AM

Which reminds me, TIP YOUR SONIC SERVER! by BKarg Mon October 19, 2009 @ 1:18 PM

I don't by Nate. Tue October 20, 2009 @ 5:58 PM

im a carhop by jonica b. Tue January 31, 2012 @ 8:35 PM

by Teresa B. Posted Sun October 18, 2009 @ 8:09 PM

My son was a manager at one of the Sonic's in OK. He wore a short
black jacket at work. It didnt have the Sonic logo on it. So you
might find out if that is accpetable. Maybe its to avoid any type of


by Just Jeffrey Posted Sun October 18, 2009 @ 7:55 PM

I feel for your daughter. While I can see someone highly paid being
expected to fund their own uniform, I can't imagine that a "car hop"
makes enough for Sonic to justify her spending her own money on a

When I worked where I had to have a uniform, they were supplied. I
came to work and took one off the rack that fit me.

That was the upside.

The downside was that, because they belonged to no one, they were
never washed. As a rule, I never put my hands in the pockets because
they were always filled with something... old... moldy... gross.

I understand not being able to wear a personal coat. But they should
provide her with a coat if they require a branded one.


by PepperElf Posted Sun October 18, 2009 @ 9:52 AM

i'd also check the local labor laws in regards to that.

when i did my food job 18 years ago we had company shirts and hats to
wear, but had to get our own khaki pants

but we were never required to purchase any company items.

and when i worked in the navy ... well we had to pay for the uniforms
out of pocket, but then we were given a yearly bonus to go towards new
uniforms etc, so it kinda balanced out.

if she cannot wear a coat... what about turtlenecks and other
under-garmets that you can put company clothing over?

also... if the coat is expensive i'd look into seeing if you can get a
used coat.


You paid out-of-pocket for uniforms?!!! by Venice Sun October 18, 2009 @ 5:20 PM

Military Uniforms by Teresa B. Sun October 18, 2009 @ 8:07 PM

Pizza Hut by SiotehCat Sun October 18, 2009 @ 8:55 PM

Thanks for all that info, Teresa by Venice Sun October 18, 2009 @ 10:09 PM

yep, we were given a yearly uniform allowance by PepperElf Mon October 19, 2009 @ 12:51 AM

Sorry by Teresa B. Mon October 19, 2009 @ 7:14 AM

too bad they're not so much into MC by PepperElf Mon October 19, 2009 @ 10:12 AM

That settles it! by Venice Mon October 19, 2009 @ 4:53 PM
by dottiejean28 Posted Sun October 18, 2009 @ 9:43 AM

I know that Mcdonalds and I think Taco Bell...if there are shoes you
need, you order them from the restaurants uniform supplier and they
deduct them from your paycheck a little each week.


Wendy's... by Venice Sun October 18, 2009 @ 5:16 PM

When I worked at Wendy's by Nate. Sun October 18, 2009 @ 5:45 PM

I guess so by Venice Sun October 18, 2009 @ 6:12 PM

Out of pocket by Wolf Mon October 19, 2009 @ 4:19 PM

by RowdyRetailer Posted Sun October 18, 2009 @ 8:14 AM

Your daughter needs to check her employees handbook, paperwork etc
that cites this policy.

I know the kids I hire get a stack of stuff that goes over policies
and procedures 10 times, check it out

Good Day


by Nate. Posted Sat October 17, 2009 @ 9:55 PM

It makes sense that a restaurant would have a uniform policy that
specifies only company apparel may be worn while on the job. There is
a lot of variety in personal coats, and some may not be professional
due to accoutrements, color, print, etc.

Are other uniform costs the responsibility of the employee? If so,
then the cost is completely justified.
If she does not wish to incur such expense, there are indoor positions
such as in the kitchen or drive thru that she could work.


The Drive-Thru Can Be Just As Cold as Working Outside by Cor H. Mon October 19, 2009 @ 7:15 AM
by Michelle O. Posted Sat October 17, 2009 @ 7:07 PM

you may want to check your states labor code regarding uniforms - at
least in my state, the employer may require a dress code, ie: black
pants, or red shirt, etc, however, if they require a specific brand or
logo, such as Sonic, it is considered a uniform and should be employer
(obviously I am summarizing...)


A coat is not required to be employed there though by Nate. Sat October 17, 2009 @ 10:02 PM

Yeah, no fast food job likely is worth buying a darn coat! by RedheadwGlasses Sat October 17, 2009 @ 10:50 PM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Sat October 17, 2009 @ 7:01 PM

They should provide coats for the employees to wear, or sell them
extremely cheaply (as in, ridiculously cheap, like $10). Otherwise,
she can always get a new job. Why ruin her own coat by working at a
fastfood place? Gross.


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