Home Depot used threats and punishments to try to stop employees from expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement and organizing among workers, according to a complaint filed by an official with the National Labor Relations Board.
The filing from an NLRB regional director alleges that the home improvement retailer “selectively and disparately” enforced its dress code to target workers who wore Black Lives Matter or “BLM” apparel.
One employee who was trying to address racial discrimination and harassment issues at a Home Depot location in Minneapolis was illegally suspended and told to stop their activism efforts or find another job, according to the complaint.
Management at the retailer also threatened employees in person and over a video call “with unspecified consequences” if they protested policies at the store, the complaint says.
The NLRB regional director who issued the complaint, Jennifer Hadsall, said in a statement to Huff Post that Home Depot’s alleged actions violated the National Labor Relations Act, which protects workers’ right to organize.
“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.”
Sara Gorman, a Home Depot spokeswoman, said the complaint “misrepresents the relevant facts.”
“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. We disagree with the characterization of this situation and look forward to sharing the facts during the NLRB’s process,” Gorman said.
“Regardless of the outcome, we will continue to be fully committed to diversity and respect for all people.”