Westlaw News

8th Circuit upholds workers' rights to make racist comments while picketing

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a National Labor Relations Board ruling that an Ohio tire maker violated federal labor law by firing a union worker who directed racist comments at replacement workers crossing a picket line.

In a 2-1 decision, a panel of judges on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the NLRB’s conclusion that Cooper Tire & Rubber Co could not fire factory worker Anthony Runion was supported by substantial evidence. The panel agreed that he did not lose the protection of the National Labor Relations Act for picketing workers because his taunts were neither violent nor threatening.

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