Home Depot allegedly discriminated discriminated against a Minneapolis employee for their Black Lives Matter activism at work, according to a complaint filed by a regional official with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
NLRB Regional Director Jennifer Hadsall wrote in her complaint that Home Depot used its uniform policy to “selectively and disparately” punish employees who had the initials “BLM” on their Home Depot aprons, according to HuffPost. The worker in question was allegedly told to pick between his job and wearing the slogan.
The complaint claims that the employee was eventually suspended and then terminated. Additionally, Home Depot management threatened workers with “unspecified consequences” for their Black Lives Matter activism during an online work meeting in February, according to the complaint.
Workers have a right to come together to improve their work environment under what is called “protected concerted activity” under the National Labor Relations Act. Hadsall claims that the law covers workers trying to address racial harassment in the workplace.
Here is more on this story from HuffPost:
“The NLRA protects employees’ rights to raise these issues with the goal of improving their working conditions,” Hadsall said. “It is this important right we seek to protect in this case.”
Hadsall’s complaint seeks to force Home Depot to post a notice in all of its stores in the U.S. clarifying that workers have the right to address racial discrimination without fear of retaliation.
A Home Depot spokesperson said in an email that the NLRB complaint “misrepresents” what happened.
“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,” the spokesperson said. “We disagree with the characterization of this situation and look forward to sharing the facts during the NLRB’s process.”
The company has until next Thursday to respond to the complaint.
The NLRB is an independent agency responsible for enforcing collective bargaining law and refereeing disputes between employers, workers and unions. Due to recent appointments by President Joe Biden, the NLRB is more likely to pursue complaints like the one against Home Depot than it was during the previous four years when the agency was shaped by former President Donald Trump.
The Senate confirmed Jennifer Abruzzo, a union attorney, to be the NLRB general counsel. She is expected to be a strong supporter for workers’ rights.