Person talking(l+r), Arby's sign(c)

JHVEPhoto/Shutterstock @twirlyenough/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘But it can be a tax write-off’: TikToker says Arby’s worker who made under $8 an hour was forced to buy an expensive work sweatshirt for shift

'If a uniform is required, the employer should pay for it.'


Beau Paul


Posted on Feb 21, 2024   Updated on Feb 21, 2024, 12:09 pm CST

Companies will always look after their bottom line, but is it fair for them to pass on their business costs to their employees?

That’s the question one Los Angeles-based TikToker asks in a viral video describing how they were made to buy winter clothing while working in a freezing open-air warehouse—despite already owning plenty of warm sweatshirts at home.

Kipp (@twirlyenough) discusses the issue, as well as the ways it politicized their views in a video posted two weeks ago. The video currently has 434,900 views and counting.

Kipp’s discussion of the issue was inspired by an article published by Fortune with the headline: “Unemployed Gen Zers are having to turn down work because they can’t afford the commute and uniform, report shows.”

“It reminded me of one of the first ever things to radicalize me,” he says to his viewers. Kipp then describes a memory of being 15 and listening to the mom of a friend discuss having to buy “shoes, pants, and a certain belt” for their kid to work at Arby’s.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Arby’s via email for a statement.

Kipp remembers being confused by the company’s policy. They then recount a similar situation they faced at one of their first jobs.

While working in a non-customer-facing position at a grocery store in a cold warehouse area, they claim they were forced to buy a sweatshirt with the company logo to stay warm “during a Minnesota winter.”

“I wasn’t allowed to bring in my own sweatshirt. I had to buy a $30 one from the company. A sweatshirt that no one was going to see because [I was] in the back,” they tell viewers. “I never ended up buying this because I was so pissed at the idea.”

According to legal advice, federal law states that companies are allowed “to deduct the cost of supplying and maintaining a uniform (having it mended or cleaned and pressed) from an employee’s paycheck, as long as the employee’s wages after the deduction don’t fall below the minimum wage.”

However, laws regarding the purchase of uniform items generally come down to what is allowed and/or required by the state that one is employed in. As per, “Some states don’t allow employers to charge employees for uniforms at all. In these states, an employer that wants to require a uniform must supply it to employees free.”

For example, in New York, employers “must pay for “required uniforms,” while in Texas, “there is no statute prohibiting an employer from requiring employees to purchase their own uniforms,” according to’s list of state-to-state regulations.


late stage capitalism hell scape

♬ original sound – Kipp! 🇵🇸🍉

“It’s such a … scam that you are required to pay to get to work,” Kipp tells his viewers.

Many agreed with Kipp, leaving expressions of solidarity in the video’s comment section.

“The financial burden of working is totally not talked about enough,” tsamneb (@tsamneb) wrote.

Another viewer addressed tax issues, writing, “‘but it can be a tax write-off’. that’s great, but I need the money to buy them now not get back at tax season.”

One viewer wrote, “I had a bank manager tell us that tellers should be dressed like attorneys. Um, not for $11 an hour in California, no ma’am.”

Another stated that it was standard practice at his job to provide employees with a uniform stipend. “I literally get a $400 uniform stipend every single year. if a uniform is required, the employer should pay for it. Absolutely crazy.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Kipp via TikTok messenger for further comment.

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*First Published: Feb 21, 2024, 6:00 pm CST