Does Black Lives Matter Create a Hostile Work Environment?
Black Lives Matter has created an environment in which you can destroy just about anybody by calling him a racist, and now we need to turn this environment against BLM. Could a good employment lawyer argue that an employer's or university's support for BLM constitutes an actionable hostile work environment or hostile learning environment?
One of the qualifications for a hostile work environment (or hostile learning environment in a school or university) is simply that somebody has to feel offended, which is the "woke" Left's favorite method of attacking its enemies. The complainant must also show that it is discriminatory, pervasive, and harassing. A swastika or KKK hood would almost certainly meet all these requirements for a Jewish or black employee. A good lawyer might be able to argue that an employer's support for Black Lives Matter similarly creates a hostile work environment for Caucasians in general and Jews in particular.
Does Black Lives Matter Qualify as a Hate Movement?
The first step is to establish a prima facie case that BLM is, with the prominent and perhaps unique exception of Robert Ray Barnes' Black Lives Matter Foundation, itself a hate movement every bit as repulsive as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis. Here is but an overview of what has been found crawling around underneath the rock called Black Lives Matter (again with the exception of BLM Foundation, which advocates better police-community relations and is not connected with BLM Global Networks or other BLM-affiliated hate group).
- The Black Lives Matter web site promoted openly a racist boycott of white-owned businesses. Any Caucasian employee can therefore reasonably take offense to the display of the BLM logo or, even worse, his or her employer's support for the organization.
- Black Lives Matter makes the racist statement, "We see ourselves as part of the global Black family…" The motto of the corresponding "global white family" is "White Pride, World Wide." There is room for only one family in this country, and it is the American family that comes in all colors.
- Graffiti made under color of the BLM movement advocates openly the murder of police officers. The material includes pictures of dead pigs in police hats, "Oink your last, pig," "Kops are cancer," and ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards). Similar violent hate symbols, including a pig in a police hat roasting over a fire and a burning police car, are available for purchase online. The EEOC requires however that unwelcome workplace behavior discriminate against a protected class, which includes religions and races but not professions such as law enforcement. Telling an employee that one hopes his or her police officer spouse gets "fried like bacon," while repulsive, might not enable an EEOC complaint although it can and should reflect badly on the employer's reputation.
- Black Lives Matter has joined forces with hate groups that deny openly Israel's right to exist: "…many advocated some form of violence and all called for the destruction of Israel." “Genocide since ’48! We don’t want your Jew-State!” They forgot to use "Zionists" as a euphemism for "Jews" this time and now they own it -- they've always meant Jews. Another individual added, "When I see an NYPD car burn, I say we’re waking up revolutionary consciousness!"
- The Democratic National Committee's official website connects directly to a BLM web site with an icon called "Free Palestine." This leads directly to another web page that says "About BDS movement" which connects in turn to the official web page of the BDS movement which denies Israel's right to exist. "For nearly seventy years, Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights and has refused to comply with international law." Israel occupied Gaza, Judea, and Samaria 52 and not 70 years ago. Hate doesn't have a home in the Democratic Party; it has a mansion.
- This article adds that a "Day of Rage" that involved BLM included chants like "You can't defund the police, you have got to abolish the police! You have got to abolish the Zionistic state of Israel! You have got to abolish the United States Government!" The demonstration included violent videos of terrorist attacks and even Nazi swastikas, and any organization that involves itself with swastikas is discriminatory against Jews.
- BLM has itself called Israel an apartheid state that practices genocide.
BLM may have once had the moral high ground when it protested peacefully against the small minority of police who misuse their authority, badges, and weapons. BLM lost that moral high ground the instant it embraced violent hate speech against police, racism, anti-Semitism, vandalism, civil disorder, and misuse of 501(c)(3) tax exempt resources to influence an election, and must now be regarded as a hate movement every bit as bad as the white supremacist ones.
Does BLM Create a Hostile Work Environment?
We have therefore established clearly that many people in the workplace might find promotion of BLM highly unwelcome, and the unwelcome behavior need not come from managers or co-workers either. Customers who display white supremacist insignia, KKK hoods, or BLM attire also could create a hostile work environment. There does not, on the other hand, seem to be comparable protection for customers. If I walk into a Starbucks (which I have no plans to do) and see a barista with BLM attire, I can and will walk out after telling the barista and perhaps the manager why, but I cannot file an EEOC complaint. My sole recourse is to boycott hate by walking out or, as a more practical matter, not walk in in the first place.
No Legal Recourse Does Not Mean No Recourse
What if the employer's or school's actions cannot be proven to discriminate against a protected class? Some states also prohibit discrimination against employees for expression of political opinions outside their workplaces and while not representing their employers, so civil suits and even criminal charges might be on the table. Political "coercion of employees" is a felony in New Mexico.
Even if there is no legal recourse available, other lawful and nonviolent consequences are on the table. Equity Prime Mortgage LLC, which fired the stepmother of Garrett Rolfe, apparently had to take down or restrict access to its Twitter and Facebook pages due to the overwhelming backlash. Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, has garnered unfavorable publicity for disciplining a student for publishing attacks on Black Lives Matter. While BLM supporters may be eager to purchase Nike shoes with Colin Kaepernick's picture on them, others will boycott BLM hate by not buying anything from Nike. 1st in SEO's former, and I stress "former," CEO Matthew Blanchard said his company would not serve Trump supporters. The company's website now reports "We changed the former owner’s political policy immediately after taking over three years ago." The anti-Semitic establishment Foodbenders in Toronto also just got a seat in the Karma Café. "Woke" leftist virtue signaling at the expense of others is therefore self-destructive, and its consequences are largely self-enforcing.
Civis Americanus is the pen name of an American Thinker contributor who remembers the lessons of history and wants to ensure that our country never needs to learn those lessons again the hard way.