Silicon Valley Reaches Employment and Labor Law Crossroads

When Hate Speech Meets “Don’t Do Evil” in the Valley of Silicon
– Forbes

Manatt’s Deborah Kelly, a partner in the firm’s employment and labor practice, was interviewed for a Forbes article that discusses a new crossroads for Silicon Valley.
According to the publication, Silicon Valley firms face contentious labor and employment concerns in a “daunting new world” filled with political extremism; unsettling labor, employment and intellectual property issues; and unprecedented freedom of speech and privacy concerns.
Kelly is recognized in the article as helping technology companies navigate the line between the personal and the professional, including contending with employees who have expressed views aligned with white supremacy or neo-Nazism.
“The latitude an employer has to take action against an employee who engages in hate speech depends on three factors,” advises Kelly. “First, private employers are not generally constrained by the First Amendment. Unless there is a contract or union agreement that says otherwise, private employers are far more free in their decisions to let employees go. The second factor is whether there is a state law that regulates and protects lawful off-duty conduct. And finally, if hate speech reflects badly on or hurts the employer or calls into question the employee’s ability to do their job—all of those issues would be grounds for an employer to take action against the employee.”

Read the article here



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