Employee Uniforms (VPBS 184)


June 15, 1990

To: Vice Presidents, Chancellors, Deans, Directors, and Heads of Schools, Divisions, Departments and Offices

(Supersedes Memorandum 163, dated April 1, 1978)

Employee Uniforms

Effective Date: July 1, 1990


This memorandum adds a fourth option to the existing policy regarding employee uniforms. Employees have expressed an interest in personal apparel maintenance, rather than wearing standard stock issued periodically by operating units that sometimes vary in size and cleaning quality. Paragraph 2(d) below allows departments to purchase uniforms for employees. The employee becomes the owner of the uniform and is responsible for its personal maintenance.

While the new option may be practical in some situations, it is understood that this practice may not be hygienically practical in all work areas of the University. For example, biological or physical contaminants in the workplace could make personal laundering inappropriate.


When a dean, director, or department head specifies that a prescribed uniform will be worn on-the-job as a condition of employment, the employing department shall furnish uniforms at no cost to the employee. The costs of acquiring uniforms will be borne by the departmental budget.


  1. Uniforms are defined as wearing apparel selected and specified by the employer as to type, style, color, and quality and worn in a manner as specified by the employer.
  2. Uniforms shall be:
    1. Furnished and maintained by the department under the University's uniform rental contracts; OR
    2. Purchased by the department and cleaned or laundered under the University's laundry contracts; OR
    3. Purchased by the department and laundered by the department within the operating unit; OR
    4. Purchased by the department and laundered by the employee. Uniforms become the personal property of the employee.

    For each employing department, the method selected for furnishing and maintaining uniforms will be the method which results in the lowest cost consistent with uniform quality, cleaning standards, and service. Replacement schedules and replacement needs of only standard-issue uniforms and their related costs will be the responsibility of the department. The employer may choose uniforms from a variety of stock wearing apparel available through the contract vendors. All arrangements for acquiring and maintaining uniforms will be made by the Purchasing Department.

  3. Procedures may be developed at the departmental level for implementation of one of the above options, but must be compatible with the provisions of the purchase, rental or laundry contracts. Employees will be held accountable for observing the prescribed procedures for the reasonable use and care of uniforms in their possession. Uniforms obtained under options (a), (b) or (c) will remain the property of the University or the commercial supplier and must be returned upon the termination of employment. Uniforms obtained under option (d) will immediately become the property of the employee and may be retained in the event of termination of employment.
  4. With prior approval of the dean, director, or department head, an employee who is required to wear a uniform may elect to purchase, wear and maintain personal uniforms, similar to the uniforms issued, in lieu of receiving standard-issue uniforms from the department. All costs of acquiring and maintaining personal uniforms will be borne by the employee without any reimbursement from the department.
  5. Contact the Purchasing Department at your campus to establish employee uniform services for your area.


All employee questions relative to uniforms shall be directed to his/her supervisor.

Questions by deans, directors, or department heads relative to uniforms should be directed through normal administrative channels to the Department of Purchases and Service Enterprises on the West Lafayette Campus.

Howard Lyon
Vice President for Business Services and
Assistant Treasurer

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

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