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Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court during arguments in the union fees case “Janus v. AFSCME ” on Feb. 26, 2018. Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi/ NLJ

The U.S. Justice Department is urging the Supreme Court to turn down a petition that seeks to broaden a ruling last term against labor unions to reach other workplace disputes, including rules about what buttons and pins employees are allowed to wear.

The Justice Department asked the court to reject restaurant chain In-N-Out Burger’s argument that the Supreme Court’s ruling in June striking down mandatory “fair share” fees for public-sector unions should apply to a dispute over a company uniform policy for employees.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit struck down a rule that prohibited employees at the California-based burger chain from wearing any insignia on their uniforms, including “Fight for 15” buttons advocating for a minimum-wage boost. Lawyers for In-N-Out Burger, represented by Littler Mendelson, contend the Fifth Circuit decision, tied to a workplace dispute at a burger joint in Austin, Texas, unlawfully compels the company to endorse ideas and speech it finds objectionable.

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