Home Depot has been accused of threatening an employee with “unspecified consequences” for showing support for Black Lives Matter, according to a complaint filed by the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The agency, in a complaint issued on Tuesday, alleged that one Home Depot worker was “told to choose between wearing the [BLM] slogan and having a job” after the employee wanted to show support for the movement on their uniform. They were allegedly suspended and then terminated.
Home Deport was also accused in the complaint of ”selectively and disparately” punishing workers who had the “BLM” letters on display, as well as those who “engaged in other related protected concerted activities” connected with the anti-racism movement.
One manager at a Home Depot in New Brighton, Minnesota, was also accused of telling employees that there were “unspecified consequences if they engaged in protected concerted activities regarding racial harassment”, the NLRB said.
According to the NLRB, the actions taken by Home Depot were a violation of the National Labor Relations Act, which protects the rights of workers to join to improve their working conditions under what’s known as “protected concerted activity”.
Jennifer Hadsall, the NLRB regional director who issued the complaint, said the agency “protects employees’ rights to raise these issues with the goal of improving their working conditions” and that “it is this important right we seek to protect in this case”.
Home Depot, which denies the claims made by the NLRB, could be made to display a notice in all of its US stores to clarify that workers have the right to address racism without fear of retaliation from managers. It has until Thursday to respond to the complaint.
“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,” a spokesperson for the retailer said in a statement to HuffPost.
“We disagree with the characterisation of this situation and look forward to sharing the facts during the NLRB’s process.”
The Independent has contacted Home Depot for comment.
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