Do workers have a right to wear political imagery while on the job?
For now the answer seems to be no.
In August, the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against retailer Home Depot after the company refused to allow a worker to wear Black Lives Matter imagery while on the job.
A Minneapolis employee worker a slogan supporting BLM on his apron. The company told him that wasn't allowed. The worker refused to remove the slogan. He lost his job.
The NLRB says the home improvement chain violated the worker's rights. But last week a judge disagreed.
Home Depot's dress code prohibits employees from wearing "causes or political messages unrelated to workplace matters" on the job. Seems pretty clear cut.
The NLRB claimed protesting against racial injustice was a valid workplace issue.
But an administrative law judge ruled that's to broad of an argument, noting that BLM's message "originated, and is primarily used, to address the unjustified killings of Black individuals by law enforcement and vigilantes" and not racism in the workplace.
The decision will be appealed, so this isn't over.
It's not unreasonbale for a business to have a dress code for workers. They are there to do a job, not promote their own political interests. So we think the judge made the right call -- provided Home Depot treats all political messages equally. If so, there is no reason to think BLM should get a pass.
If it can be proven the company allowed some political messages and excluded others, that would be a different issue.