A recent Law360 article by reporter Anne Cullen, Employers Weigh Emoji Bans to Curb Bias, Harassment Suits, discusses the increase in emojis popping up in workplace discrimination and harassment cases. She interviews Kang Haggerty managing member Edward Kang for his perspective:
“My advice is to not use them in the workplace at all because there is no such thing as a safe emoji,” Kang says in the article.
Even ones that appear innocuous can be problematic, noting that the popular “thumbs up” emoji, for example, tends to have a positive connotation with older generations but can be seen as dismissive by a younger viewer.
“There are sometimes completely different meanings attached to an emoji between the sender and the recipient,” Kang said. “For example, there’s a big difference between older generations and younger generations in how they view emojis.”
Kang Haggerty’s Edward Kang and Kandis Kovalsky have been writing and presenting on the topic of emojis in litigation since 2018, including Why Lawyers Should Care About Emojis in The Legal Intelligencer, October 2018; a CLE program at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF), Emojis Speaking Louder Than Words? The Import of Emojis, Emoticons and Hashtags as Evidence at Trial and Beyond #😊; and a CLE program at the 2019 National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Annual Convention in Austin, Texas, Emoji Law: Are You Prepared for Emojis, Emoticons and Hashtags in Litigation?
If you have questions about litigation issues arising from the use of emojis, contact the attorneys at Kang Haggerty for more information.