CDW Applauds 5th Circuit’s Decision to Protect Common Sense Dress Code Policies

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) released the following statement in response to the US Court of Appeals 5th Circuit’s decision to grant Tesla’s petition for review and deny the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) application for enforcement in Tesla v NLRB. CDW filed an amicus brief in the case.

Tesla requires its employees to wear uniforms throughout the production process and threatened to send home employees who violated the policy by wearing t-shirts. In response, the NLRB ruled that any employer interference with an employees’ right to display a union insignia is infringement under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The 5th Circuit, on November 14, sided with Tesla and decided that the NLRA does not give the NLRB the authority to make all company uniforms preemptively unlawful. The court said “the Board must show that the policy “truly diminished the ability of the labor organizations involved to carry their message to the employees,” and it had failed to do so. The court also found that “[I]t is only when the interference with [Section] 7 rights outweighs the business justification for the employer’s action that [Section] 8(a)(1) is violated.”

The following statement can be attributed to CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen:  

Workplaces throughout the economy use uniform policies to ensure worker safety, protect machinery or equipment, or simply create professional work environments. The court rightly chastises the Board for failing to consider these legitimate business interests.  The Board’s decision is yet another deviation from precedent and had no reasonable basis in law. CDW applauds the 5th Circuit for reigning in a rogue NLRB and prioritizing workplace safety and enforcing common sense employee dress code policies.”