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Managing the Modern Workplace
V&E International Labor & Employment Resources

  • 11
  • July
  • 2019

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How Emojis Can Cause Trouble in the Workplace

As emojis have morphed from a cute novelty into a staple element of business communication, they have begun to pose liability risks to companies. Many of these risks stem from the fact that emojis lack universal definitions, can have multiple — often subjective — meanings, and look different on different messaging platforms. This means that emoji use can easily lead to misunderstandings between sender and recipient, which in a business setting can have consequences ranging from contract claims to allegations of harassment and discrimination. Business litigation in which emojis are key evidence has increased significantly in recent years, and shows no sign of abating.  Employees’ use of emojis to supplement text or provide an emotional valence can also enhance liability risk. This occurred memorably in Apatoff v. Munich Re America Services, where the use of emojis by managers led to denial of a company’s motion for summary judgment against a claim of wrongful termination under the Family Medical Leave Act.  2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106665 (D.N.J. Aug. 1, 2014).

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New York Harassment Law Is a Game Changer

Last year, when I wrote about the new laws that had been passed by the New York State Assembly to combat sexual harassment, I was largely complimentary. After all, requiring employers to provide interactive training in harassment training was something that I had been recommending since I became an employment lawyer many years ago. While I was more ambivalent about some of the other provisions (prohibiting certain non-disclosure provisions and arbitration agreements), the basic principles of sexual harassment law remained the same.

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Knowing Right From Wrong, From Hugs to Inappropriate Behavior: The International Impact of the #MeToo Movement

Many of us have found the descriptions of the behaviors exposed during the #MeToo movement to be a truly troubling comment on U.S. workplaces. At the same time, we are dealing with questions about where to draw, and how to define, the line between appropriate and inappropriate work behaviors and what the proper reaction should be when that line has been crossed.

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  • 18
  • October
  • 2018

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Mentor Fail: #MeToo No Excuse

Last Saturday, I was at the luggage return of George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston after a long business trip to Rome. While standing there, I noticed three people, two older men and a younger woman, who obviously all worked for the same company.

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  • 06
  • September
  • 2018

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New York Issues Guidance on New Sexual Harassment Law’s Requirements

Earlier this year, I discussed New York State’s new sexual harassment law, which goes into effect on October 9, 2018. In anticipation of the law going into effect, the State posted drafts of a model sexual harassment policy, model complaint form and a model sexual harassment training program on its website last week to assist employers in complying with the new law.

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Contributors

Thomas H. Wilson

Thomas H. Wilson Partner

Christopher V. Bacon

Christopher V. Bacon Counsel

Sean Becker

Sean Becker Partner

Stephen M. Jacobson

Stephen M. Jacobson Partner

Martin C. Luff

Martin Luff Counsel

Lawrence S. Elbaum Partner