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Manager Called Out For Refusing To Accommodate Plus-Size Employee’s Request For Different Uniform


Redditor whistlerblue16 is a manager for a customer service department at a reputable establishment who was faced with an obstacle concerning a new female employee.

After her first week on the job, this new employee addressed a concern about her uniform, but the manager was unable to accommodate her on the spot.

When the interaction did not end well, the manager visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) and asked:

“AITA for refusing to order specialty uniforms for a plus size employee?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I work as a manager for a customer service department at a large tourist attraction. We have a new employee we’ll call Kate. Employees are required to wear a uniform consisting of a branded polo and whatever work-appropriate slacks people choose to wear.”

“The largest size we currently have in the polo is a 2XL. Kate is a plus sized lady and she requested the largest size available. I gave her the 2XL, and it seemed to fit fine.”

“However, after the first week on the job, she came to my office and said she’d like to talk. She told me she feels the uniform is too ‘constricting’ and the fabric makes her uncomfortable.”

“She said it was unaccommodating to bigger staff members to only offer a ‘clingy, form fitting polo.’ (The polos are a dri-fit, polyester material.)”

“I let her know that we can order a bigger size for her but it would take 2-3 weeks for the custom ones to come in. She asked if I could order her a different style of shirt, and I said no because the uniforms need to be consistent.”

“She seemed dissatisfied with this answer but we ended the conversation.”

“Today I opened my email to receive an email from Kate that can be summarized:”

‘It is disrespectful and discriminatory practice to refuse to accommodate plus size employees. By not allowing me to wear a uniform I feel comfortable in you have made this an unwelcome and hostile work environment for me.’

‘If management is unable to order an appropriate uniform for me I will promptly be leaving this position.’

“Kate is otherwise a solid employee and has had no issues with attendance or customer service. Am I the a**hole by not caving to her demands here?”

Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

Many Redditors thought the OP was not being the a**hole in this situation.


“She had a legitimate complaint about the shirt being too small for her to comfortably wear. You offered to order a polo in a larger size for her.”

“But she went a step further and wanted a completely different style of shirt. There’s no reason for that.”

“You were not disrespectful or discriminatory. You treated her respectfully and offered her an appropriate accommodation. This sounds like a case of an employee throwing around buzz words (discrimination, hostile work environment) to try to bully management into giving in.”

“Let her leave. Good riddance.”

“But just to CYA, make sure you have documentation that you offered to order a larger shirt.” – QuackLikeMe

“An email back saying ‘Per our discussion, I am happy to order you a larger polo shirt, which is our required uniform shirt. Please respond to this email with your size and I will be happy to place that order for you asap!’ That should do it. Nta.” – Little_Season3410

“I would change it slightly.”

‘Per our last discussion, I am happy to order you any size shirt for our uniform. You did not tell me what size to order when we discussed this on MM/DD, so if you will reply to this email with the sizing I will get that ordered for you.’

‘As you know, we keep a consistent uniform across all employees, so no custom materials or cuts will be ordered as that is not our uniform. I am happy to get this resolved by ordering whatever size of our uniform you need.’

“Needs to expressly state that the woman didn’t take the offer for the right size. Yes, ‘per our discussion’ should clue people in, but it’s good to directly spell it out if someone wants to try to go for discrimination. Also calls out why only the uniform will be ordered and not anything custom.”

“It’s less nice and not political, but it’s more direct. When someone throws those buzz words around then you make sure your ass is well covered.” – Whatthehonker

“I would add the expected time-frame into this phrasing.”

“…I will get that ordered for you, and it should arrive in [2-3 weeks]. Please see me to discuss interim measures. As you know…”

“It’s not reasonable to expect her to wear a too-small shirt for 2 wks while waiting for the real uniform to come in, so she could potentially use a polo shirt of the same color (in her preferred size) during that time, with the understanding that when the official shirts come in, she will be expected to wear them exclusively.” – ArbitraryContrarianX

“Cover your a**. Basically if OP thinks Kate might be going to HR with a complain against him or if she’s taking legal action, he wants to make sure he has written proof that he didn’t do anything wrong.”

“Like the discussion he had with Kate isn’t tracked anywhere since it might be a private conversation with no one around to vouch for him, so it’ll be a case of he says she says which would be hard to prove since she can easily twist his words or say he said something that he didn’t.”

“By having everything communicated through emails or text, there’s a paper trail so to speak that proves that OP did indeed try to accommodate Kate and Kate was asking for something that might be against company policy (not following uniform guidelines). So Kate accusing OP of being discriminatory is completely unfounded.” – CrimsonPromise


“You did attempt to accommodate Kate by saying you’d order a custom size. You don’t need to allow her to wear a different outfit/clothing just because she wants to.”

“If you cave, you’ll set a precedent for others to demand custom outfits. Kate’s email sounds like she’s subtly threatening you with a lawsuit if you don’t give her what she wants. This is not the ideal employee. It’s attempted blackmail.” – bluegreentech

“Aside from the threat of blackmail, you don’t realize how much uniforms will cause discourse in an office til you experience it.”

“Something similar happened at my old job. I worked at a pool & when we were teaching, the uniform is one piece swim suit and a long sleeve swim top. Its to keep you warm and prevent any pulling down or tops or injuries such as scratching from the most popular classes were with kids anywhere from 1-10 years old with about 90% of them being terrified of water. It was a necessary evil.”

“One of our teachers ‘Leah’ tried to wear a string bikini without the swim top. Saying that she forgot to wash her usual suit. We had a huge stash of swim shirts so it was no problem for a replacement.”

“But then she argued that the policy was sexist & was only used on attractive women cuz certain people didn’t have to wear them. Literally The only person who didn’t wear one was out 70 year old water aerobics instructor who has been the instructor since day one.”

“She is can do what she wants🤷🏾‍♀️.Long story short cuz I realized I’m rambling, our manager caved (her FWB) & everyone started arguing about uniforms and the policy. Not just teachers, but guards and reception as well.”

“It only lasted til about her 2nd class of the day where she had the nip slip of the century. S ton of a parents complained. She ended up getting suspended for it cuz it was technically exposure to children or something like that (idk it was 7 years ago now).”

“While she was suspended she got fired cuz turns out she was stealing our pool noodles. Long story short. Use the uniform 😂” – BananaSignificant771

“This is above your pay grade had has nothing to do with a judgment of a**holery. Send the email up the chain of command/HR.”

“Let them give you direction. They may want to have legal do an analysis of the issue. They certainly will want legal to review any response to the email.” – Girl_with_no_Swag


“Non-plus size employees may dislike the polos for similar reasons, but still have to wear them. Everyone deserves to have a uniform that fits them, but not necessarily one that they like or feel super comfortable in. That’s just how it is with uniforms.” – civil_lingonberry

“I’m a plus-sized lady and was ready to tear you a new one from the headline alone.”

“But no, NTA. She’s entitled to a SIZE that fits her comfortably, of the standard uniform shirt—not a whole different style. She’s out of line.” – eugenesnewdream

Overall, Redditors thought the OP handled the situation well, and they thought the employee was better off seeking a job elsewhere.

Redditors also reminded the OP about the importance of having a paper trail of any efforts made in accommodating her to prevent foreseeable legal complications.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo