Free Speech

News & Analysis as of

RLUIPA Defense/Rocky Mountain Sign Law Joint Blog Post: Pennsylvania Borough’s Church Directional Signs Did Not Violate the...

Late last month, a federal district court in Pennsylvania ruled that directional signs to a church, which contained images of a cross and bible, did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The...more

Religious Institutions Update: August 2016

When was the last time your organization reviewed your insurance policies? Not all policies are equal. Many religious organizations are underinsured. Most should have general liability, property, professional liability,...more

Advertising Law - August 2016 #2

Electric Toothbrushes Battle It Out Before NAD - In a battle over electric toothbrushes, the National Advertising Division determined that Procter & Gamble can support superiority claims for its Oral-B models challenged...more

Ninth Circuit Holds Section 1983 First Amendment Retaliation Claim Not Necessarily Precluded By Age Discrimination in Employment...

On August 5, 2016, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) does not preclude a First Amendment retaliation claim under section 1983 of the federal Civil Rights...more

Cumis Counsel’s Post-Settlement Conduct is Not Protected from Insurer’s Reimbursement Lawsuit Under California’s Anti-SLAPP...

In Travelers Cas. Ins. Co. of Am. v. Hirsh (No. 14-55539), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an order denying the appellant’s motion pursuant to California’s anti-SLAPP statute, to strike...more

The Water in Rio Isn’t the Only Thing to Worry About – So Are Olympic Hashtags

Social media is buzzing with Olympic hashtags, particularly #Rio2016 and #TeamUSA. But the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) is cracking down on hashtag use by companies without Olympic sponsorship deals, calling it “ambush...more

Open Internet Order Prevails

Addressing challenges to the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC’s) 2015 Open Internet Order, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that the FCC acted with proper authority when it...more

Third Circuit Finds Photo Placement Sufficient to Permit Defamation, False Light Claims to Go Forward in Suit Alleging Harm from...

In a case demonstrating the difficulties of applying long-established but arguably outdated legal principles to modern technology, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit last week reversed itself to permit a...more

Sex and the Stock Photo*

Despite the high heat of summer, two federal courts have blown a chill wind through the law of online defamation. The courts gave the green light to libel suits over alleged implications from stock or file photos illustrating...more

There Are Limits to Connecticut’s Employee Free Speech Law

It has long been recognized as a matter of federal constitutional law that public employees cannot be deprived by the government of their right to freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment, even though the government...more

Conservative Expression May Be Unlawful Harassment, EEOC Says

Is wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” cap to work a form of racial harassment? According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it could be, even though the EEOC acknowledges that the Gadsden Flag “originated in the...more

California Supreme Court Clarifies Standards for Anti-SLAPP Motions to Strike So-Called “Mixed Causes of Action”

This week the California Supreme Court clarified that California’s anti-SLAPP statute, California Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16, permits the movant to strike a portion of a so-called “mixed cause of action” that combines...more

Calif. Supreme Court Resolves Conflict in Anti-SLAPP Procedure, Provides Guidance to Litigants

The California Supreme Court resolved a decade-long conflict among lower appellate courts in its watershed opinion Baral v. Schnitt, Case No. S225090, 2016 WL 4074081, *1 (Cal. Sup. Ct. Aug. 1, 2016). Now, courts must allow a...more

California’s Anti-SLAPP Statute Untangled

On August 1 the California Supreme Court finally resolved a split of authority among California’s appellate courts over operation of the anti-SLAPP statute, Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, in the mixed cause of action...more

Arkansas Ban on Political Robocalls Struck Down

A federal judge for the District Court in Little Rock, Arkansas ruled this week that a 1981 State law banning political robocalls is unconstitutional. The ruling comes less than a year after a federal court overturned a...more

Medina v. Dash Films Inc. - USDC, S.D. New York, July 14, 2016

District court dismisses trademark infringement action against Kanye West and others, finding that defendants’ film series title “Loisaidas” is protected by First Amendment because it has artistic relevance, title is not...more

Managing Politics and Social Issues at Work

This is a time of intense politics and troubling news. The headlines – and the strong feelings they generate – inevitably affect the workplace. Managers and HR professionals often end up moderating political arguments and...more

Indian Supreme Court Upholds Criminal Defamation and an Individual “Right to Reputation”

On May 13, 2016, the Indian Supreme Court issued a landmark verdict rejecting a series of petitions that challenged the criminal defamation provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the basis that they violate free speech...more

Politics in the Workplace: What Must Employers Allow?

Everyone has experienced both "workplace politics," in which Type A employees claw their way to the top at the expense of co-workers, and "politics in the workplace," in which employees discuss candidates for office and...more

Justices Receive Another Petition on Surcharge Laws

Could the U.S. Supreme Court take up the issue of state surcharge laws? The plaintiffs challenging the Texas law banning surcharges on credit card purchases certainly hope so, having filed a certiorari petition in Rowell v....more

ERISA Fiduciary Rules: Court Challenges and Considerations for Employers

Employers and their financial advisors should consider enacting a multi-step plan amid anticipation that the proposed ERISA Fiduciary Rules turn effective. Last month, several business groups filed a complaint in the...more

Busting Employment Law Myths

Employment lawyers get to hear lots of great stories and lots of client opinions. That’s part of why we love our jobs. Many of the stories describe goofy or inappropriate employee behavior – and some include goofy or...more

Wyoming Prohibits Trespassing For Resource Data Collection: Might Massachusetts Follow?

In a fascinating case, Judge Scott Skavdahl (who recently struck down BLM’s fracking regulations) dismissed challenges from NRDC and PETA, among others, to a Wyoming law that prohibits trespassing on private land for the...more

Employers Get a Break on Disclosure of Union Organizing Efforts and Advice: Texas Court Blocks Implementation of the DOL’s...

In this blog, we have previously covered the United States’ Department of Labor’s controversial efforts to effect a significant change to the so-called “Persuader Rule,” a regulation first proposed by the United States...more

Judge Puts Brakes on Department of Labor’s “Persuader Rule”

The United States Department of Labor issued regulations earlier this year finalizing the “Persuader Rule.” Under the new Rule, employers and consultants (including lawyers) would be required to report labor relations advice...more

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