Michael J. Slocum: No LOLing Matter: The Rising Prevalence of Emojis in Employment Litigation

Extract from Michael J. Slocum’s article “No LOLing Matter: The Rising Prevalence of Emojis in Employment Litigation”

Emojis have a come a long way since the days when we winked at each other with a semicolon, dash, and parenthesis. The website emojipedia.org reports that as of September 2021, there were more than 3,600 unique emojis in the Unicode Standard. They fall into eight categories, including Smileys and People, Animals and Nature, Food and Drink, Activity, Travel and Places, Objects, Symbols, and Flags.

To the uninitiated, the diversity of emojis to choose from can be surprising. There are dozens of different faces beyond the standard smiley, such as Nauseated Face, Confounded Face, and Money-Mouth Face. There is Waving Hand, Raised Hand, and Vulcan Salute. A wide variety of foods, such as Pretzel, Hamburger, and Pizza, are available, as are emojis related to various events such as a birthday, a graduation, or a wedding.

More recently, emojis depicting a human or body part (such as faces, hands, or ears) are available in a variety of skin tones. There are emojis specific to a number of medical conditions, such as Ear with Hearing Aid, Deaf Person, or Breast-Feeding. Emojis of different genders sometimes exist for the same condition, such as Pregnant Woman, Pregnant Man, and Pregnant Person. Emojis that some may associate with religious sects, such as Woman with Headscarf, Man Wearing Turban, and Person with Skullcap, are also there.

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