LOGIN Request a call


NLRB Rule: Time to Review your Dress Code

19 Mar

Update Applicable to:Effective date
All employersSee details below

What happened?

On February 21, 2024, the NLRB ruled that a national retailer must allow customer-facing employees to write “Black Lives Matter” on their uniforms. The decision applies to both unionized and non-unionized companies.

What are the details?

The decision may have created a “you can’t put that genie back in the bottle” situation to allow the public display of political and social causes in the workplace. 


  • Antonio Morales worked for a large retailer and wrote the initials “BLM” on his uniform in a show of support for co-workers he believed were being treated unfairly.
  • Employees discussed mistreatment at work, raising concerns with management by Morales sending an email objecting to the conduct and calling for a broader discussion on racial injustice and discrimination at work.
  • Management representatives informed Morales that wearing “BLM” violated the company dress code, which prohibited workers from wearing political messages unrelated to the workplace.
  • They informed him that he could not work unless and until he removed the “BLM” initials.
  • Morales refused, resigned his employment, and filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB.

The NLRBs decision:

  • The Board held that the employer violated federal labor law by directing Morales to remove “BLM” and enforcing its dress code policy to prohibit him from wearing it.
  • The Board also held that the employer constructively discharged Morales, meaning that Morales had no choice but to resign.
  • The wearing “BLM” was a protected concerted activity, that that was not new, and that political and social messaging can be protected conduct when there is a nexus between the messaging and employees’ terms and conditions of employment.

According to Fisher Phillips law firm review, “…what is new for employers in this case is the required nexus between political messages and the workplace” (Link), andThe Board’s decision here is yet another endorsement of the General Counsel’s prosecutorial agenda…”, whether people like it or not (Link).

Per the Proskauer Rose law firm review, “…the NLRB declined to adopt a broader objective advanced by the NLRB General Counsel that protesting civil rights issues on the job is “inherently concerted” activity that is protected by Section 7 of the Act. (Link).”

Business Considerations

  • Conduct a review of your dress code policy and any other policy and practice that may necessitate an update to mitigate risk in this area of employment law.


Source References

Schedule a Call

Learn more about VensureHR and how we can make an impact on your business.

Contact VensureHR

This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

Keep Your Business Compliant

Fill out the form below to receive monthly Employment Law Updates right in your inbox.

Keep Your Business Compliant

Fill out the form below to receive monthly Employment Law Updates right in your inbox.


You're all set.

Thanks for subscribing. Be on the look out for the Legal HR updates in your email.

Celebrating PEOs!

VensureHR joins the nationwide celebration, reflecting on an industry of excellence in providing payroll, employee benefits, compliance assistance, and HR services to thousands of SMBs across North America.

Tracking Convertion image