News & Analysis as of

Free Speech

Department of Education Sued in Connection with Recently Issued Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct

• An equal rights group and three individual plaintiffs have filed a civil suit in U.S. District Court in Boston against the Department of Education (ED) and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The complaint alleges that the...more

Federal Court Holds That Banning a Commenter From a Public Official’s Public Facebook Page Violates the Commenter’s Right to Free...

by Tucker Arensberg, P.C. on

Davison v. Loudoun County Bd. of Supervisors, 1:16CV932 (JCC/IDD), 2017 WL 3158389 (E.D. Va. July 25, 2017). The District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued a declaratory judgment holding that an elected...more

Protected Conduct or Hate Speech? Managing Diverse Viewpoints in the Workplace

by Akerman LLP - HR Defense on

Recent events have underscored the difficulties employers face in managing diverse workforces in which employees hold a wide-range of political perspectives. The mere discussion of the news of the day can create divisive...more

Free Speech at Work: It Is Not What You Think It Is

On Wednesday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy made a comment about the ongoing National Anthem issue. McCoy stated: “I think it’s gonna be an uproar if that is to happen because you’re basically taking...more

All Rise (or Not)! A Flag, The National Anthem & Connecticut Law

by Shipman & Goodwin LLP on

“Joe, in response to all this NFL stuff, we want you to display U.S. flags at your workstation.” “No.” “Well, then you’re fired.”...more

CAS Legal Mailbag Question of the Week - October, 2017 #2

by Shipman & Goodwin LLP on

Dear Legal Mailbag: I hope that you can help me out of a jam. Last week, during an otherwise uneventful day, a crowd gathered at the middle school where I am principal. Originally published in the CAS Weekly Newsletter...more

Data Scraping, Bots and First Amendment Rights

by Patrick Law Group, LLC on

A recent case involving a small workforce analytics startup fighting for its right to extract data from the largest professional networking site on the Internet may set a precedent for applying constitutional principles to...more

Regulating Speech at Work

by Pepper Hamilton LLP on

Q: Can a private employer limit its employees’ speech and political activity in the workplace? A: Yes, but not speech that is considered part of a “concerted activity.”...more

Courts Uphold Law Enforcement Officer’s Discharge For Racially Insensitive Posts

The freedom of speech afforded by the First Amendment is remarkably broad. Several categories of speech, including even “hate speech,” are afforded varying degrees of protection. However, the freedom of speech guaranteed...more

San Diego Smackdown: Comic Con Trademark Fight Goes First Amendment

by Fox Rothschild LLP on

The stakes just raised in an imminent trial over the validity of the San Diego Comic-Con trademark. What started out as a straightforward trademark dispute has now implicated First Amendment free speech issues....more

Dear Littler: Can We Discipline An Employee Who "Took a Knee" During the Anthem?

by Littler on

Dear Littler: I work for a prominent company in a small city here in the Hoosier State, and we are very involved in our local community. We sponsor a corporate softball team, and last night one of our team members “took a...more

Ninth Circuit Blocks San Francisco’s Warnings Ordinance for Sweetened Beverages

by Bryan Cave on

In a decision likely to have important implications for regulation of commercial speech, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked a San Francisco ordinance requiring warnings about the health effects of certain...more

Top SCOTUS Cases Tech Companies Should Watch – Fall 2017 Preview

by Fenwick & West LLP on

The upcoming U.S. Supreme Court term promises to be a big one, featuring a patent case that could be a game changer for many clients and a host of other cases that may affect how tech and life sciences companies deal with...more

“Trespass is Fine with Us” sayeth the 10th Circuit

by Clark Hill PLC on

Free speech is a cherished constitutional right although not at Berkeley, it seems. Our courts usually bend over backwards to protect it. Over the years, the term “speech” has been stretched to cover not just the spoken word...more

Executives Behaving Badly: Can CEO Be Fired For Kathy Griffin Hate Speech?

by Lewitt Hackman on

Neighbors don’t always get along – not even affluent neighbors living in exclusive gated communities in Bel-Air. This was proven most recently, when the Huffington Post released security camera audio of Jeffrey Mezger...more

Russian Oligarch Spars With Associated Press Over Whether DC Anti-SLAPP Statute Applies in Federal Court

by LeClairRyan on

Last month, Oleg Deripaska filed his response to the Associated Press’ anti-SLAPP special motion to dismiss. His brief argues that the Court should deny the Associated Press’ motion for multiple reasons...more

Politics in the Workplace: Do NFL Players Have Freedom of Speech to Protest at Games?

by Payne & Fears on

It’s nearly impossible to turn on the TV and not hear something about the NFL player protests and whether such actions are protected speech under the First Amendment. While these protests started last season, they have grown...more

WARNING! No warnings allowed to stop sales of sugary drinks

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

San Francisco’s ordinance that required warnings about the health effects of certain sugar-sweetened beverages was shut down by the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (see also, 9th Circuit rejects argument that ‘No Added...more

Government-Mandated Health Warnings in Sweetened Beverage Advertising Found Likely to Chill Protected Free Speech

by Kelley Drye & Warren LLP on

On September 20, the Ninth Circuit blocked the City and County of San Francisco from implementing an ordinance that would have required health warnings on advertisements for beverages that contain one or more added sweeteners...more

Federal Trademark Registration, the First Amendment, and Freedom of Speech: Part III

Of course, loyal readers have been eagerly awaiting Part III of the series (see Part I and Part II) focusing on Tam’s intersection of federal trademark registration and the First Amendment....more

Claim Is Gone With The Wind At Death

Two time academy award winner Olivia de Havilland seeks an expedited trial for the lawsuit involving her right of publicity. Olivia de Havilland, DBE v. FX Networks, et al, BC667011 (Superior Ct. Calif., June 30, 2017). The...more

Calling President An Idiot May Be Protected Speech (But Maybe Not)

by Shipman & Goodwin LLP on

“President Trump is a Big Fat Idiot” or, for that matter, “Secretary Clinton is a Sore Loser.” Let’s suppose you see one of your employees tweeting one of these expressions on Twitter during non-work hours from a personal...more

Racism in Your Spare Time: What Are The Legal Limits for Employers?

by Kelley Drye & Warren LLP on

On Saturday, August 12, as the nation watched, protests in Charlottesville, Virginia regarding the anticipated removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee turned deadly. In the days and weeks after, both the...more

CEOs, Politics and the Law: Guidelines for a New Era in Corporate Social Speech

by Perkins Coie on

In recent weeks, America’s CEOs have spoken out on social issues like never before, placing the business community firmly within the national debate. Likewise, companies are feeling internal and external pressures to...more

Federal Trademark Registration, the First Amendment, and Freedom of Speech: Part II

As the drum roll proceeds to the upcoming Midwest IP Institute in Minneapolis and sharing the podium with Joel MacMull of the Archer firm (and Simon Tam fame) on Thursday September 28, in a few days, I’ll be making a stop...more

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