Recently, BLM was dealt another blow, at least indirectly, after a major corporation and employer banned employees from prominently displaying “Black Lives Matter” commentary on their apparel or accessories.
Home Depot previously blocked employees from wearing BLM-themed merchandise while on the job, given its strong political connotations, prompting one employee to file a complaint against the corporation.
In March 2021, a previous employee filed a complaint declaring that they had been suspended from work.
The employee claimed that they had been “required to choose between engaging in protected concerted activity, including displaying the ‘BLM’ slogan, [or] quitting employment,” which prompted employees to resign.
However, the judge overseeing the case was not impressed by the argument of BLM fanatics.
National Labor Relations Board Judge Paul Bogas wrote an opinion that skewered the insufficient reasoning provided by the former Home Depot employees.
Bogas remarked that the standard of concerted activity had not exactly been met, given that the controversial messaging needed to be a clear, cohesive group effort regarding the improvement of 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,” Bogas wrote.
In other words, the BLM apparel had little to do with labor conditions at Home Depot, which Bogas also noted in his ruling.
“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,” the judge concluded.
However, the employees view the situation differently, with one former employee claiming that the BLM insignia is “a form of solidarity,” as well as a way for people to “feel safe” when interacting with them.
“I have never seen it as something political,” the employee declared.