Judge rules that Home Depot can ban employees from wearing Black Lives Matter gear

A judge decided last week that Home Depot was within its rights to ban employees from wearing Black Lives Matter (BLM) messaging. 

According to Fox Business, administrative law Judge Paul Bogas said in his ruling that BLM material did not have “an objective, and sufficiently direct, relationship to terms and conditions of employment.”

Judge rejects NLRB claim

Instead, the judge argued that BLM’s messaging “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.

In doing so, he rejected a claim made last year by the United States National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that Home Depot’s messaging ban was unlawful.

Fox Business recalled how in a statement issued last August, NLRB regional director Jennifer Hadsall asserted that BLM’s messages “directly impact the working conditions of employees” are thus protected under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

“The NLRA protects employees’ rights to raise these issues with the goal of improving their working conditions,” Hadsall insisted, adding, “It is this important right we seek to protect in this case.”

“Diversity and respect”

The hardware chain responded by issuing a statement of its own that disputed the NLRB’s contention, declaring, that it “does not tolerate workplace harassment of any kind and takes all reports of discrimination or harassment seriously, as we did in this case.”

“We disagree with the characterization of this situation and look forward to sharing the facts during the NLRB’s process,” Home Depot.

“Regardless of the outcome, we will continue to be fully committed to diversity and respect for all people,” the corporation pledged.

Fox Business noted that Home Depot did not immediately respond to a request for comment following Friday’s decision.

It added that Bogas’ ruling can be appealed to the labor board in Washington, D.C., and then taken before a federal district judge.

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