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Region 18 complaint alleges Home Depot fired employee who refused to remove Black Lives Matter slogan from apron

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On Thursday, August 12, 2021, the Region 18–Minneapolis office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued complaint against Home Depot USA, Inc., alleging that the home improvement giant discriminated against an employee in a Minneapolis store for raising issues of racial harassment with coworkers and managers and displaying a Black Lives Matter slogan on his apron—which are all protected actions under the National Labor Relations Act.  

The complaint also alleges that the store unlawfully enforced its otherwise lawful dress code and apron policies, and threatened employees not to engage in activity regarding racial harassment. The employee’s activity around these issues, including his refusal to remove the slogan, ultimately led to his suspension and constructive discharge, says Region 18. 

Since Home Depot applies its policies at over 2,200 stores in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, the Region is seeking a nationwide notice-posting remedy, advising employees at all of its U.S. stores of their rights. Should the Home Depot seek to reinstate the rule, the Region will argue that such reinstatement be accompanied by an assurance to employees that the rule will not be applied to restrict their protected activity.     

Regional Director Jennifer Hadsall noted, “Issues of racial harassment directly impact the working conditions of employees. The NLRA protects employees’ rights to raise these issues with the goal of improving their working conditions. It is this important right we seek to protect in this case.”   

Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees, employers, and unions from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year. Region 18 serves areas in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin from its Regional Office in Minneapolis and its Subregional Office in Milwaukee.