News & Analysis as of

Hate Speech

“Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”: How to get yourself fired for a Facebook post

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

Social media has created a minefield of concerns for both employees and employers. The news is full of stories of employees documenting their questionable off-duty conduct on social media, or posting comments containing...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

Germany’s New Hate Speech Act in Force: What Social Network Providers Need to Do Now

by Reed Smith on

On 1 October 2017, the German Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (Network Enforcement Act, „NetzDG“) that we already reported on in April and May, entered into force (English version here). The NetzDG shall be an “act to improve...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

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

Neo-Nazi in Your Workplace? Tread Carefully Before Taking Action

by Foley & Lardner LLP on

We live in an unfortunate time in which white nationalists and neo-Nazis are receiving a great amount of publicity. In the aftermath of this month’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia we are likely to see additional rallies,...more

Google and Charlottesville Events Raise Questions for Companies Regarding Employee Political Views

Two recent major news stories again involve the intersection of politics with employment law. In the first matter, Google fired a programmer after he posted an internal document criticizing the company’s diversity...more

Political Speech, Discrimination and the Law: How Employers Should Respond to Charlottesville

The recent tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia and other news regarding the activities of white supremacists and similar groups, have served as a rude awakening for many that our national reality has shifted. These...more

German Parliament to Adopt WiFi Act and Hate Speech Act This Week

by Reed Smith on

In two last-minute decisions, the German Parliament (Bundestag) will likely adopt the WiFi Act (Entwurf eines Drittes Gesetz zur Änderung des Telemediengesetzes) and the Hate Speech Act (Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur...more

Social Links: SCOTUS strikes down law banning sex offenders from social media, denies cert in “dancing baby” case; Germany may...

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that a North Carolina law that the state has used to prosecute more than 1,000 sex offenders for posting on social media is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment....more

Social Links: Court disallows firing over Facebook page rant; Ether threatens Bitcoin’s reign as top digital currency; NBA slam...

One year since agreeing with the European Commission to remove hate speech within 24 hours of receiving a complaint about it, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube are removing flagged content an average of 59% of the...more

Germany’s Approach Against Criminal Content on Social Networks Faces Resistance by Stakeholders

by Reed Smith on

On 5 April 2017, the German Federal Minister of Justice’s new bill aimed at improving enforcement of rights in social networks (Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Verbesserung der Rechtsdurchsetzung in sozialen Netzwerken;...more

Gloom Descends on This Year’s SXSW Interactive

For the third year in a row, Socially Aware co-editor Aaron Rubin and I attended SXSW Interactive, which arguably has become the premier annual gathering for the global tech community. But this year, SXSW Interactive had a...more

German Federal Minister of Justice Introduces New Bill to Eradicate Criminal Content on Social Networks

by Reed Smith on

On 14 March 2017, the German Federal Minister of Justice, Heiko Maas, announced a new bill aimed at improving the application of the law to social networks (Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Verbesserung der Rechtsdurchsetzung in...more

Social Links: Google penalizes sites with pop-up ads; proposed Federal legislation to criminalize revenge porn; ad industry group...

Google is cracking down on mobile pop-up ads by knocking down the search-result position of websites that use them. The National Labor Relations Board decided a social media policy that Chipotle had in place for its...more

Updating the AVMS Directive: making VoD services pay?

by Reed Smith on

Our latest client alert on the European Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy sets out some of the key aspects of the most recent proposal from the Commission relating to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and...more

Five on Friday – Five Recent Developments that We’ve Been Watching Closely: June 2016

It’s Friday and time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we’ve been monitoring. This week’s post includes: new guidance for boards of directors on business and human...more

Social Links: The rise of social news; how technology hijacks our attention; are websites a dying business?

In a fascinating, must-read article, a Google design ethicist explains the techniques that engineers and entrepreneurs employ to keep us hooked on the web. A majority of U.S. adults—62%—now get their news on social...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

Fourth Circuit Holds Employer to High Standard for Responding to Anonymous Workplace Harassment

Employers and employees often face frustrations when trying to determine the identity of persons who engage in anonymous acts of harassment in the workplace. These acts can involve notes, graffiti, telephone messages or other...more

NLRB Rules that Racism is a Protected Activity

Although no one reading this article would disagree with the premise that employers cannot and should not tolerate bigotry from anyone in their workforce, the NLRB apparently thinks otherwise. In a troubling decision handed...more

Facebook Revamps Community Guidelines By Cracking Down on Hate Speech, Graphic Violence and Nudity

by Reed Smith on

Sensitive to the expanding diversity of the online community, the world’s largest social network has taken a step to curb highly contentious postings....more

Teach Appropriate Speech - Or risk liability for employees' derogatory on-line comments about customers

by Pierce Atwood LLP on

Recent District of Hawaii decision suggests social media policies are more important than ever, despite NLRB’s dramatic limits on employers’ ability to police employee speech on the Internet - Howard v. Hertz -...more

Status Updates - October 2014 #12

..Unfree speech? In the United States, the First Amendment would likely prevent the prosecution of someone who posted racist or anti-Semitic messages on a social media platform. But social media platforms operate worldwide,...more

The Road to True Threats is Paved with Intimidating Intentions

by Ifrah PLLC on

Recently, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals considered the dividing line between free speech guarantees and the state’s authority to criminalize threat speech. In United States v. Heineman, the court held that the government...more

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Cybersecurity

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