Tag: emojis

Using emojis can be legally binding

Think that the use of a specific emoji colour is fine? Think that a black smiley used by a white person is acceptable? Think that sending an image of an eggplant is perfectly normal? The courts in countries like the USA and France say no, and it’s very likely that these rulings are soon going to make their way into South African courts and organisations. According to Nicol Myburgh Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit, emojis can be used as evidence against employees and companies in a court of law.

“The inappropriate use of an emoji is going to make an appearance in this country very soon,” he predicts. “People must become far more circumspect in their use of emojis and images when engaging in communication with fellow employees, otherwise they run the risk of being accused of discrimination or harassment, among other things.”

If a white person uses a black smiley in their communication with a fellow employee, that could be perceived very negatively, no matter what thought process may have been behind its use. For some, this could be seen as ‘blackface’ or as a form of discrimination, and it could cause immense distress among employees.

“Of course, any use of an emoji requires context,” says Myburgh. “Labour law looks at the balance of probabilities. Was the emoji used in a negative context or was it part of the flow of conversation? Did it have a racial intent or was it meant to be a way of connecting with someone? If a person, according to the balance of probability, has a reputation for making racial statements, then this use case could be used as proof to take them to a tribunal.”

The same applies to the use of apparently innocuous emojis such as the eggplant. Yes, that could just be a vegetable, but it could also be innuendo and sexual harassment and the same rules apply. Different people see things in different ways and this is influenced by age, gender, culture and situation. For Myburgh, the best way to avoid being caught in the emoji trap is to keep them out of the workplace entirely.

“If you want to avoid a court case or office in-fighting, just don’t use emojis,” he adds. “Of course, that isn’t going to happen; this is neither practical nor realistic so instead adopt the same strategy as you would with verbal conversations – be aware, be careful and be respectful.”

Another example of how emojis could potentially impact on a company or a career is in their interpretation as a tacit agreement. The thumbs up emoji, for example, could be used to make an argument that verbal or visual confirmation was given to something.

“You may be just saying ‘noted’ but the reader may see the thumbs up and think, ‘wow, I got the job’,” concludes Myburgh. “The rule of thumb in any office environment or communication is to stay away from emojis that could have harmful or offensive connotations, such as eggplants, tacos, hearts, kisses, thumbs up, rude gestures or certain types of animals. That way you can avoid unnecessary conflict and an extremely unpleasant court case.”

 

From smiley faces to hearts and hugs, emojis (emotive icons) have become an intrinsic part of our everyday lives.

Hot on the heels of its European success, this week saw emoji-africa announce its exclusive distributorship of officially branded emoji products to the sub-Saharan African marketplace.

“Emojis influence how we communicate, providing us with the means to express ourselves in everything we do,” says Paul Hubers, co-founder of emoji-africa.

“Emoji branded products take the feelings and emotions we share when using digital icons into the world of physical and tangible products.”

Having enjoyed a very successful uptake in Europe, Hubers is confident that the same will hold true locally.

“Officially branded emoji products are found on shopping streets and at retail stores across the continent,” he says. He adds that the reason for its success lies in its evergreen potential.

“Emojis are neither a passing fad nor are they connected to any movie or action hero. As a result, potential for long term sustainable uptake is huge. This makes it an obvious choice for local retailers interested in exploring not only new products, but a lucrative and viable additional revenue stream as well.”

Through its joint venture with Durabo Holland, and its extensive network amongst leading European retailers, emoji-africa is able to offer an extensive range of official emoji products, including but not limited to entertainment, homeware, BBB (bath, bed, textiles), toys and gadgets, back to school items such as stationery, storage, wrapping and luggage.

Available soon at leading retail outlets including the likes of Mr Price, Musica, Toys R Us, Checkers and Pick ‘n Pay, together with various online outlets, what has up until now been simply a fun way to communicate is about to become a much bigger part of everyday life.

Image credit: www.emoji-africa.com

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top