Offensive Language

News & Analysis as of

Illinois Court Finds Teaching the “N” Word is Not Protected by the First Amendment

Recently, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois addressed whether a teacher could be disciplined for using the word “n*gger” in a sixth grade classroom. In Brown v. Board of Education of the...more

NLRB Holds Employee’s Obscene Facebook Post Criticizing Supervisor is Protected

We have written previously about the expanding scope of social media activities that the National Labor Relations Act protects and the tight limits the NLRB places on an employer’s ability to discipline employees for...more

NLRB Finds Employee’s Extremely Profane Facebook Post was Protected Concerted Activity

The National Labor Relations Board recently demonstrated how far it will go to protect employees in the name of protected concerted activity. In Pier Sixty, LLC, an employee took to Facebook to call his manager a...more

NLRB Rejects Profane Employee Facebook Rant as Grounds for Termination

For decades, the National Labor Relations Board has recognized boundaries on employees’ rights to engage in activity protected under federal labor laws. While employees have been granted leeway to engage in heated or...more

Calling Your Boss a “Nasty Mother F@#$%r” and Other Protected Activities

If an employee lashes out against a supervisor on social media with a string of obscenities, you can fire that employee, right? You would think so, but not always. Context matters....more

A Single "Hitler" Comment Is Insufficient for a Title VII Retaliation Claim in the Fifth Circuit

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a judgment against a City of Houston employee who claimed that he was demoted for reporting another employee’s racially offensive comment made during a workplace meeting....more

NLRB Says You Can Call Your Boss Obscenities and Not Get Fired

Over the last several months, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a variety of controversial decisions related to its interpretation of what constitutes protected concerted activity under the National Labor...more

The Employment Law Authority - March/April 2015

In this Issue: - Immigration - State Round-Up - Best Practices - Retaliation - Employment Discrimination - Excerpt from Immigration; Spouses of H-1B visa holders will be eligible for work...more

Are You A Nasty Mother Fu*ker?

I don’t know if you are or aren’t. That’s probably for a different timeforhardselfassessmentlawblog.com (wish I had purchased that domain). However, I do know that your employees apparently can call their manager a nasty...more

Supervisor's "Hitler" Comment Not Enough to Create Hostile Work Environment

Does a single incident create a hostile work environment? Just this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that one offensive comment was insufficient to create a hostile work environment....more

Court Denies Summary Judgment to Employer on Professor’s Allegations He Was Denied Tenure After Reporting Inappropriate Facebook...

A federal court in Oklahoma recently denied summary judgment to Northeastern State University, finding that a professor’s discrimination and retaliation claims, among others, could proceed to trial. The professor, Dr. Leslie...more

The “Protected Activity” Prong of a Prima Facie Retaliation Claim

Courts increasingly scrutinize the “protected activity” prong of a plaintiff’s prima facie retaliation claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other, similar anti-discrimination laws. ...more

Illinois Appellate Court Interprets Equal Terms “Comparator” Favorably for Local Government

In an important decision for local governments, the Illinois Appellate Court on March 6, 2015 issued its decision in Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov Elementary School (“JDBY”) v. City of Evanston. The decision, particularly the...more

Keeping pace with social media in the workplace

Kate Hodgkiss, a Partner in our Edinburgh office, comments: In recent years, the social media phenomenon has continued apace and there is no doubt that it is now an integral part of a significant proportion of businesses in...more

Case Alert: Dismissal for Non-Work Related, Personal Tweets

What happened? In Game Retail Ltd v Laws, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decided that an employer had acted reasonably when dismissing an employee for use of his personal Twitter account for non-work related but...more

Can Offensive Personal Tweets Justify Dismissal?

Most of the case law in the UK on dismissals related to employees' social media activity has been at employment tribunal level and therefore the recent decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) in Game Retail v Laws...more

Thinking of buying your child their own laptop or smart phone? Read this first – a look at whether parents are liable for their...

A Georgia seventh-grader created a fake Facebook profile that defamed a classmate, according to this Wall Street Journal story. In middle school fashion (I am not looking forward to parenting through this period), a boy...more

Status Updates - December 2014

Yik Yak arrests. For several months now we at Socially Aware have been writing about how college students have been using the purportedly anonymous messaging app Yik Yak to communicate deeply offensive remarks and threats of...more

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS: Cursing employee denied unemployment benefits

Hard to believe, but this spring was the first time an Oklahoma case answered the question whether offensive language directed by an employee toward a supervisor disqualifies the fired employee from receiving unemployment...more

All Press Is Good Press For Texas Restaurants

Some of you may have heard the latest uproar caused by Pizza Patrón. Known for its undaunted ability to generate press from clever, edgy marketing campaigns, Pizza Patrón’s latest endeavor was to name a pizza, La Chingona....more

Battles Over Demand Letters: Lessons From 'The F Word'

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When a big corporation sends you a cease-and-desist letter, make … ale? This is what Jeff Britton, owner of Exit 6 Pub and Brewery in Cottleville, Mo., chose to do after he...more

Employee Gripes: When Employers Should Take Them Seriously

An employee’s speech in the workplace may be disruptive to the day-to-day running of your company or worse, downright offensive and “bad for business.” This blog post will discuss when an employer is free to discipline an...more

Uncovering a Line in the Sand: Employee Social Media Use and the NLRA

If an employee calls his supervisor a “nasty motherf[**]ker” on Facebook, would the employee lose the protection that he would otherwise enjoy under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)? Probably not, according to...more

Nurse Using Abusive Language Toward Hospital Administrator on Facebook Justifies Firing

As this blog has covered on a number of occasions, employee speech on Facebook, particularly if it is profane, vituperative or threatening, can lead to termination. A number of courts in recent months have grappled with the...more

Disputed Facebook Post Can Justify a Firing And Is Not Pretextual

As this blog illustrated recently, sentiments posted on Facebook, if sufficiently vulgar or offensive, can cause a person to lose his job. The Seventh Circuit recently issued a decision analyzing whether a profane and...more

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