News & Analysis as of

Offensive Language

The NLRB/EEOC Landmine – When Does Offensive Speech Amount to Protected Activity?

Employers need to be on the lookout for instances of offensive employee speech, which may put them between a rock and a hard place as they navigate potential claims under either anti-discrimination laws or federal labor laws....more

Going to California—Google Asks U.S. Court to Declare Supreme Court of Canada's Global Injunction Unenforceable

by Bennett Jones LLP on

The Supreme Court of Canada recently confirmed the availability of a novel form of worldwide injunction whereby Google, a non-party to the litigation, was required to block worldwide access to websites operated by a...more

Second Circuit Holds Pro-Union Sentiment Outweighs Impropriety of Profanity-Laden Rant Against Supervisor, His Mother, and “His...

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

Use of profanity by employees, whether in the workplace, outside the workplace, or on social media, presents difficult legal issues for the employer, as highlighted by a recent Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision...more

Official Report Leaves One Eager to Know More about 'Racially Insensitive' Judge

by PretiFlaherty on

There’s one intriguing item, and one only, in the latest annual report of the Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct, which fills some 90 pages of text. (I read these things so you don’t have to.) It concerns a...more

Second Circuit Identifies Outer Limits of NLRA-Protected Speech

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) generally prohibits employers from retaliating against employees based on their union-related activities or for taking concerted action to improve the terms and conditions of their...more

Second Circuit Rules on Bounds of Protected Concerted Activity

In a case at the edges of protected employee conduct during a union organizing drive, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals last week found that an employee’s expletive-laden Facebook post cursing out his boss—and his boss’s...more

Second Circuit Weighs in on Social Media, Profanity, and the NLRA

by PretiFlaherty on

One of the fundamental protections of the National Labor Relations Act is that employers may not discipline employees for engaging in concerted activities relating to the terms and conditions of their employment. Whether an...more

Expletive-Laced Facebook Rant Protected Under Federal Labor Law

Many people have fanaticized about telling their boss what they really think about him or her. Fortunately, most employees have the good sense not to write down what they are thinking about their employer....more

!@#$% Vote Yes for the UNION! Facebook Post Protected by the NLRA? Second Circuit Says Yes

In National Labor Relations Board v. Pier Sixty, LLC, No. 15-1841 (April 21, 2017), the Second Circuit upheld the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) finding that an employee’s Facebook post, although “vulgar and...more

Every Manager and Their Mother: Second Circuit Shields Social Media Insults against Supervisor and His Entire Family

On Friday, April 21, 2017 a Second Circuit Court of Appeals panel affirmed a National Labor Relations Board ruling that a catering company server was wrongfully terminated for making an obscene and vicious Facebook post that...more

Is Calling Your Boss “a Nasty Mother******” Protected Activity?

by Shipman & Goodwin LLP on

My colleague Gary Starr returns today with a decision from the Second Circuit (which covers Connecticut) that may just surprise you. Then again, if you’ve been following this line of reasoning, perhaps not....more

Fourth Circuit Upholds Termination of Public Employee for Social Media Comments

A politically divided nation can mean a politically divided workplace. While employers generally hesitate to react to employees’ expression of political views, some comments viewed as extreme, threatening or inconsistent with...more

WTF, NLRB? (WTF = “Where’s The Fairness?”)

by Fisher Phillips on

In yet another blow to employers, a National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge recently upheld the right of employees who regularly work with customers to wear offensive union buttons prominently displaying the...more

#Fired: Post a Tweet, Lose Your Job

by FordHarrison on

Many people enjoy spouting off what they view as 140-character tidbits of wisdom on the social media platform Twitter. But recently several individuals have found themselves in trouble with their employers (read: former...more

Social Links: Social’s potential to upend the investment industry; online ad fraud; a proposal to fix Twitter

Social media has upended a number of industries. Is Wall Street next? Facebook is getting into the video game live-streaming business....more

Another Day, Another Violation: Board Targets Hospital’s Work Rules Prohibiting Offensive Conduct

by Seyfarth Shaw LLP on

Seyfarth Synopsis: Board panel finds hospital’s work rule prohibiting employees from engaging in offensive conduct to be unlawful. In Valley Health System, LLC d/b/a Spring Valley Hosp. Med. Ctr., 363 NLRB No. 178 (May...more

[Webinar] Registration of 'Disparaging' Trademarks After 'The Slants' - January 27, 12:00-1:00pm, EST

by Pepper Hamilton LLP on

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which bars registration of marks that “disparage” a group of people, is an unconstitutional infringement of First Amendment free speech...more

Blasphemous Corporate Names

by Allen Matkins on

Yesterday’s post considered the question of whether the California Secretary of State could refuse to accept offensive corporate names. Blasphemous corporate names constitute a subset of offensive names because they are...more

Are Things Getting Nutty at the USPTO?

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

As we enter the Thanksgiving and holiday season this year, it is particularly apropos to ponder the following question: Is the TTAB going nuts? Congress tells us that the PTO cannot register trademarks that are scandalous...more

Student-Athletes Strike Back: Will the University of Missouri’s Football Team Strike Reinvigorate the Labor Movement in College...

On Saturday, November 7, 2015, several African American members of The University of Missouri’s varsity football team announced their intention to go on strike—refusing to attend practices, play in scheduled games or...more

TTAB Makes Double Brown Ale Open to Nut Sack Mark

In a ruling bound to please 15 year-old boys everywhere, the USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) reversed the Examining Attorney’s refusal to register the trademark NUT SACK DOUBLE BROWN ALE (in standard character...more

Second Circuit Affirms NLRB View That Facebook "Likes" Are Protected Concerted Activity

Last week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals backed the National Labor Relations Board’s position that employee social media postings are protected concerted activity under federal law, even if they use obscenities that...more

Sexist Comments in Blog Post by Union President not Discrimination “With Respect to Employment”

by Dentons on

In Taylor-Baptiste v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union, the Ontario Court of Appeal was faced with the question of whether sexist and offensive posts on a blog created by a union member to discuss workplace issues...more

Top 10 Workplace Investigation Mistakes: Part I

Resolving conflict in the workplace is a key issue for employers. Legal requirements have continued to expand in terms of what courts expect employers to do in order to prevent and correct wrongful behavior. In response,...more

NLRB Judge Orders Reinstatement Of Employee Who Made Racist Taunts Toward African-Americans

by Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP on

The National Labor Relations Board promotes itself as a government agency that “safeguards employees’ rights,” but you would not know it from a recent ruling upholding racist statements made by union supporters on a picket...more

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