Court Rules Facebook "Like" is Protected Speech in Employment Retaliation Case

In 2009, Sheriff BJ Roberts was struggling for re-election. Adding insult to injury, when he went to his opponent's page on Facebook, he found that six of his deputies had "liked" the page, signing on to the campaign to remove him from office. After he won reelection, he fired all six men. Was it legal? The question is whether Facebook "likes" qualify for free speech protection, and this morning, the court of appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that they do.  This decision overturns an earlier ruling which held that free speech required a more significant public act than clicking a button. The court equated the "likes" as the equivalent of putting up a political sign in your yard, something clearly protected as political speech.  

Read the whole story at the Wall Street Journal.

Read the court's opinion here.