A judge has dismissed the complaint of a former employee who claimed that The Home Depot violated workers’ rights by refusing to let them wear “Black Lives Matter” on their uniform aprons.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) complaint, filed last year, argued that Black Lives Matter should be exempted from the home improvement retailer’s uniform policy, which bans political or religious messages “unrelated to workplace matters” from workers’ aprons and clothing.
Administrative law Judge Paul Bogas ruled Friday that NLRB lawyers failed to show that the BLM slogan was relevant to improving employees’ working conditions.
“Rather, the record shows that the message was primarily used, and generally understood, to address the unjustified killings of Black individuals by law enforcement and vigilantes,” Judge Bogas wrote in his opinion. “A message about unjustified killings of Black men, while a matter of profound societal importance, is not directly relevant to the terms, conditions, or lot of Home Depot’s employees as employees.”
A worker at a Minnesota store first filed the complaint in March 2021 after allegedly being suspended for wearing the slogan and later resigning. NLRB lawyers took up the case in August 2021.