Avila & Shaddow Attorneys at Law
Call For A Free Consultation
818-676-9658 / 866-450-4LAW
Se Habla Español
Menu Contact
Aggressive Protection of Your Rights Under The Law

Emoji use in work-related communications can backfire

California residents might be amused that an emoji has been selected as the 2015 Oxford Dictionaries word of the year. However, the extensive use of emojis in electronic communications is probably no surprise. As this communication feature has pervaded personal interaction, it has spilled over into the workplace. Personal habits are difficult to stop for work activities, and this makes emoji use in the work realm quite likely. However, training may be important to ensure that employees don't cause legal problems for their employers through the use of inappropriate emojis.

An emoji portrays a vivid concept with a simple cartoon image, which can be construed as a lack of professionalism at the minimum. Unfortunately, some emojis can communicate illegal activities such as sexual discrimination, disability biases and other discriminatory practices. In an instance of an exchange between a human resources leader and the supervisor of a disabled employee, for example, emojis were used to suggest that an employee's inability to return immediately at the conclusion of FMLA time would be a game-over scenario. The smartphone exchange supported the later lawsuit that alleged FMLA violations.

In some cases, emojis can imply phrases that would otherwise be off limits for use in the work environment due to their legal implications. When words in such messages communicate responses that might not be construed as offensive on their own, emojis could communicate the opposite, suggesting that the words are insincere. A lack of understanding about emoji meanings could further confuse such a situation.

An individual who is facing problems because of the appropriate use of FMLA benefits might attempt to address such issues with superiors. If problems are not resolved, a human resources manager might be involved to resolve questions or concerns. If adverse action is taken inappropriately, legal action could be pursued, in which case, work-related communications involving the matter might be used as evidence.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Avila & Shaddow

We offer an initial consultation at no charge. Please call our office at 818-676-9658 or 866-450-4LAW. You may also contact our attorneys via email using the form below.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response

Avila & Shaddow Attorneys at Law

Southern California
21800 Oxnard Street
Suite 1180 - Penthouse
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Phone: 818-676-9658
Fax: 818-337-7265
Map & Directions

  • LACBA Los Angels Country Bar Association
  • Rated By Super Lawyers Mark S. Avila
  • California Employment Lawyers Association
  • Avvo Ratings Excellent Top Attorney Employment Law
  • Consumer Attorneys Association Of Los Angels Sustaining Member
  • AV Preeminent Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence