In another DC court ruling, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for DC last week upheld a decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) whereby the agency found a manufacturer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by firing a worker who made a vulgar protest against the employer by writing the words “whore board” on overtime sign-up sheets. The employer had argued that their decision to fire the employee for using sex-based profanity was motivated by company policies in support of enforcing anti-discrimination laws. The NLRB did not buy that explanation, ruling that the record indicated that the employer tolerated other extensive vulgarity, profanity and graffiti in the workplace. In a 2-1 decision, the court upheld the NLRB, finding that the employer’s failure to previously enforce behavioral standards against vulgar language was “fatal” to its defense that if fired the employee for profanity, rather than in response to his protected activity. The lesson therefore, is to enforce standards equally across the board, not only when such enforcement is convenient.