Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Less than five weeks ago, a blogger on the American Civil Liberties Union website applauded Mark Zuckerberg for refusing to censor all offensive speech on Facebook. Vera Eidelman wisely argued

There is no question that giving the government the power to separate truth from fiction and to censor speech on that basis would be dangerous. If you need confirmation, look no further than President Trump’s preposterous co-optation of the term “fake news.” A private company may not do much better, even if it’s not technically bound by the First Amendment to refrain from censorship. 

Less than four weeks later, we read in the Des Moines Register

An Iowa woman fired for disparaging Mexicans at work cannot collect unemployment despite her testimony that other employees also made derogatory comments about "blacks and foreigners" since Donald Trump became president.
Angela Diers filed for unemployment after she lost her job at Dexter Laundry, a Fairfield manufacturer of commercial washers and dryers, for telling a co-worker that she hated "f---ing Mexicans."
Iowa's Employment Appeals Board ruled that Diers' statements clearly met the definition of misconduct and disqualified her from collecting unemployment benefits. The board reversed Administrative Law Judge Beth Scheetz, who said Diers deserved unemployment benefits.
Scheetz had ruled that "since President Trump’s election, it was common for workers" at the plant to talk of hating African Americans and foreigners. The company couldn't single out Diers for misconduct, the judge had ruled.
Diers said she would appeal the board's decision to deny her benefits, which would move the case to district court.

The reporter explained
The unemployment case stems from an incident that took place the morning of May 4 at the Fairfield plant.
Diers, a production worker, saw a co-worker dancing and singing Mexican songs in celebration of the coming Cinco de Mayo holiday. In response, and in front of several other employees, Diers made the comment that she hated “f---ing Mexicans.”
At her unemployment hearing, Diers testified, “It was 7 o’clock in the morning, or 6:30 in the morning, and here’s Lindsey, dancing and singing Mexican … It’s, like, ‘What are you doing?’ And then she said something about Cinco de Mayo. And that’s when I said I hated Mexicans.”
Diers testified that her co-worker said nothing in response.

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