Whole Foods is defending its policy against employees wearing slogans on their clothing while working after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accused the company of allegedly punishing workers who wore "Black Lives Matter" slogans on their shirts and of violating U.S. labor law.
The agency’s attorneys contend that Whole Foods’ ban on Black Lives Matter slogans prevents employees from exercising their rights to take part "in concerted activities for their mutual aid and protection," and their "right to advocate for change."
Whole Foods said in response to the complaint that the company "denies each and every allegation contained in the Complaint and specifically denies that it violated the National Labor Relations Act … as alleged in the complaint."
"Our dress code policy does not single out any one message or slogan," a spokesperson for the company told Fox Business. "It is designed to create a workplace and shopping experience focused entirely on excellent service and high quality food."
They added, "We do not believe we should compromise that experience by introducing any messages on uniforms, regardless of the content, that shift the focus away from our mission."
The National Retail Federation (NRF) told Fox Business that the NLRB’s complaint could prove "dangerous" for employers.
"This determination by the National Labor Relations Board’s General Counsel establishes a dangerous and inconsistent precedent for employers," the organization said in a statement. "In effect, this policy places front-line managers in the role of monitoring and adjudicating conflicts involving social or political speech based on variable standards."
The NRF also said that it "supports the notion that employers should be able to maintain content-neutral dress codes that prohibit social or political advocacy speech in the workplace and allow employees to focus on serving their customers."
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