Human Resources News & Insights

Court overturns NLRB’s dubious dress code decision

A recent ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit has reversed a highly questionable decision from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The court recently chastised the board for a confusing ruling on a firm’s recent dress code problem.

‘I don’t need a WOW’

Pharmacy benefits management company Medco launched WOW, a non-monetary recognition program, at its Las Vegas facility.

Not all employees felt the program was worthwhile. On the day of a customer tour of the company’s facilities, an employee wore a T-shirt bearing a union logo and the message, “I don’t need a WOW to do my job.” The firm asked the employee to remove the shirt, which he did.

The union then filed an unfair labor practice charge, claiming the firm’s dress code policy was too broad and that asking the staffer to remove the shirt violated the National Labor Relations Act.

The NLRB agreed, but on appeal, the court said no way.

The key to the court’s ruling: The message on the T-shirt was insulting to the company and would have undermined its efforts to attract and retain customers. Thus, Medco wasn’t out of line when it asked the employee to remove the garment.

The court sent the case back to the NLRB to reconsider its ruling.

The case is Medco Health Solutions of Las Vegas Inc. v. NLRB.

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