Posted on February 23, 2024

Home Depot Ban on Worker’s Black Lives Matter Apron Was Illegal, US Agency Rules

Daniel Wiessner, Reuters, February 21, 2024

Home Depot violated U.S. labor law by barring a retail worker from wearing an apron that said “BLM” in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, a federal labor board ruled on Wednesday.

The National Labor Relations Board in a 3-1 decision said the worker’s refusal to remove the writing from the apron was protected by federal law because it came amid complaints about racial discrimination by employees at the New Brighton, Minnesota store.

The worker, Antonio Morales, who uses they/them pronouns, in 2021 was told not to return to work with the altered apron and quit in response.


The labor board found that Home Depot broke the law by forcing Morales to quit because they had advocated for better working conditions, which is considered protected conduct under U.S. labor law.

The board said Morales did not have to explicitly link the apron to a workplace protest because, in light of the complaints about discrimination, “the BLM symbol accumulated meaning relevant to working conditions there.”


Wednesday’s ruling comes as the labor board is separately considering whether it was unlawful for’s Whole Foods and two Kroger subsidiaries to bar workers from wearing Black Lives Matter masks, shirts and other apparel.