Article from Delaware SHRM outlining the problems and pitfalls from corporate blogging and demonstrating that, in the US, free speech is supported by the First Amendment, however this does not protect a person from the consequences of this free speech.
Light-weight article (with apologies to the author) about blogging; the risks of being fired.
The employee signed an agreement not to say anything negative about the company. He posted an angry blog entry that was critical of his manager whilst not naming him. The employee stated that the post was only intended for his family and friends. The employee stated that he felt “violated” when he found out the company had read his blog.
The article mentions that companies use monitoring services regularly as a way to monitor the
What’s interesting here is that the employee apparently confused his blog as a private space when, in fact, the very nature of blogs is that they are usually intensely public.
The article concludes by suggesting that the challenge facing both employers and employees is to find the line between what is acceptable free speech and potentially harmful content to the employer.
Written by Jason Koulouras
Published September 04, 2004
Jeremy Wright got fired for saying that it was “priceless” that he was being paid to blog while the company server was down. Right or wrong it’s an interesting response by management to the exercise of free speech.
Jeremy suggests that the company had no official blogging policy. Quite dangerous in this day and age really!
The poor chap got sacked for publishing a pic to a blog of some Apple computers being delivered to Microsoft. The article quotes the person as saying that he’s still not 100% sure why he was fired – but fired, he was.
Here’s the million dollar quote:
Blogger dismissed from Microsoft – Tech News & Reviews – MSNBC.com: “If firms are discovering that blogging bans can backfire, it also can be difficult to establish fair guidance. “The lines between public and private, and the lines between inside and outside a workplace, are absolutely being blurred,” says John Palfrey, executive director of Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for the Internet and Society. “What makes something effective as a blog is on the edge of what’s uncomfortable for an employer.””
The Society for Human Resource Management published this report as of 2005, indicating that only 3% of employees were disciplined for blogging practices that breached company regulations. The study also showed that 3% of organisations read potential employees blogs as a tool in the recruitment and selection process.
What is interesting here is the report was conducted in 2005. Considering blogs were only just becoming popular in 2004 it would be interesting to see what’s happened in the intervening couple of years.
It seems that bloggers can’t slag off their bosses whenever they choose.
This CNN article makes it clear that, whilst blogging has appeal to both businesses and individuals, employees are not free to denigrate their employers, even anonymously. They quote examples of employees from Delta Airlines, Friendster, and Microsoft who were fired for posting information online that was deemed inappropriate.
At least in a US setting (it is doubtful the situation would be different in Australia) employees are not shielded by a right of free speech in an employment relationship, and simply because an employee publishes their views online, rather than at work, does not excuse their actions.