U.S. Judge Dismisses Free Speech/Free Press Claim

The Selection Officer for the SSA says one reason he didn’t hire the plaintiff (me) is because she (I) wrote an employment law blog on workplace abuse.

Chief U.S. District Judge Miranda Du of Nevada this week dismissed a claim in a lawsuit that I filed against the Social Security Administration (SSA), after it rejected me for a job for which I was superbly qualified in the aftermath of the Great Recession (2011).

A novice SSA Selection Officer said one reason he didn’t select me for hire was because he thought my fledgling employment law blog, When the Abuser Goes to Work, was a “red flag” and he was concerned I might one day question his management skills.

I began the blog as a public service in connection with my book, Surviving Bullies, Queen Bees & Psychopaths in the Workplace. The blog, syndicated by Newstek, is legally and unquestionably a work of journalism.

The shocking age discrimination I experienced when I applied for the SSA job in Reno, NV, in the waning days of the Great Recession, prompted me to research age discrimination and write my groundbreaking book, Betrayed: The Legalization of Age Discrimination in the Workplace.

A few tibits – 26 applicants (all but one under the age of 40) responded to a ridiculously narrow recruitment for five attorney vacancies. I found out about the vacancies by chance when I saw an announcement on USAJobs for a different job at the Reno office. The SSA repeatedly tried to hire five candidates under the age of 40 but was thwarted when candidates rejected job offers. The ninth selectee was the only other candidate over the age of 40 (a 47-year-old male).

The SSA says the candidates were hired based on “personality” and “cultural fit.”

In 2019, Judge Du dismissed the entire case, calling it futile, and issued her ruling with prejudice (barring me from refiling the case).

The Ninth Circuit

I filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which in 2021 reinstated my claim of systemic age discrimination, finding it “plausible,” and remanded the case back to Judge Du.

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Is Social Media Engaged In Censorship Or Civic Responsibility?

It quickly became apparent at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Tuesday that the perception of whether social media is actively engaged in censorship depends upon party affiliation.

U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-SC, and other GOP Senators blasted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for engaging in selective censorship of Republican content on their platforms to benefit Democrats in the Presidential election campaign.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, took the opposite view. He insisted the social media platforms were not engaging in censorship at all but merely exercising “moral and civic responsibility” to limit misleading content. He said the platforms must do far more to “fact check to avoid amplifying misinformation” in the future.

The hearing was held to discuss potential changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which exempts social media platforms from legal liability for content published on their platforms.

More or Less?

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, noted the irony that Democrats, one-time champions of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of free speech and a free press, are now demanding ever more censorship by social media platforms.

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