On Friday, Home Depot won one round of its fight to ban employees from wearing Black Lives Matter messages.
Last year, the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel said the company violated federal law by not allowing workers to wear Black Lives Matter imagery on their aprons, according to Bloomberg.
Administrative law judge Paul Bogas said the company did nothing wrong.
In his ruling, Bogas wrote that the Black Lives Matter images employees wanted to wear did not have “an objective, and sufficiently direct, relationship to terms and conditions of employment.”
The Black Lives Matter message “originated, and is primarily used, to address the unjustified killings of black individuals by law enforcement and vigilantes,” Bogas wrote.
“To the extent the message is being used for reasons beyond that, it operates as a political umbrella for societal concerns and relates to the workplace only in the sense that workplaces are part of society,” he continued.
Home Depot did not comment on the ruling but in the past has said the NLRB action against the company “misrepresents the relevant facts.”
“The Home Depot does not tolerate workplace harassment of any kind and takes all reports of discrimination or harassment seriously, as we did in this case,” Home Depot said last year, according to Fox Business.
“We disagree with the characterization of this situation and look forward to sharing the facts during the NLRB’s process. Regardless of the outcome, we will continue to be fully committed to diversity and respect for all people,” Home Depot said in relation to the case.
The ruling is not final. It can be appealed to the NLRB, which is currently under Democratic control and from there can go to federal court.
Home Depot “selectively and disparately” enforced its dress code, the NLRB had argued in seeking to punish Home Depot.
Although the NLRB said the dress code was legal, enforcing against an employee who wore a Black Lives Matter logo as his way of addressing racial discrimination and harassment at the store was wrong.
The incident began in a Minneapolis-area store in 2020, weeks after the death of George Floyd.
According to the complaint, the employee was told to stop wearing the Black Lives Matter logo in early 2021 or quit.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.