A judge ruled Friday that a complaint accusing Home Depot of interfering with workers’ rights by not allowing them to wear Black Lives Matter messaging should be tossed out.
The US National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel had claimed the company was violating federal law by preventing staff from wearing “Black Lives Matter” imagery on their aprons which administrative law judge Paul Bogas disagreed with, according to Bloomberg.
Bogas wrote that the Black Lives Matter labels did not possess “an objective, and sufficiently direct, relationship to terms and conditions of employment.”
Bogas added that the Black Lives Matter message “originated, and is primarily used, to address the unjustified killings of Black individuals by law enforcement and vigilantes.”
“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,” Bogas wrote.
Rulings passed down by agency judges can be appealed to the labor board in Washington, D.C., currently controlled by Democrats, and moved to federal court from there.
The NLRB alleged last year that Home Depot “selectively and disparately” enforced its dress code to target Black Lives Matter imagery.
“The NLRA protects employees’ rights to raise these issues with the goal of improving their working conditions,” NLRB regional director Jennifer Hadsall said in a statement at the time. “It is this important right we seek to protect in this case.”
“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. “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.”
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