Bloggers Jobless

CNN Money has posted an article about bloggers who have lost their jobs over their blogs.  There isn’t much new there as far as the bloggers who have been axed is concerned.  The article does take a peek into First Amendment issues, specifically freedom of expression, in the context of the workplace.  There have been a few bloggers who have ranted about their employers (Mark Jen to a lesser degree and Ellen Simonetti to a greater degree) and have lost their jobs as a consequence.  Our laws are somewhat different in South Africa and thankfully so.  Just the same, I think it is silly to make derogatory comments about your employer in such a public forum as the Web.  Have your views, sure, just think carefully about posting them on your blog.

Many bloggers seem to be under the misapprehension that freedom of expression rights such as the First Amendment in the US Constitution protect them from any backlash from their employers (or any other person slandered in a public forum).  Think again.

Cliff Palefsky, a San Francisco employment lawyer, says there’s a false
sense that employers can’t punish their workers for voicing personal
opinions — on their blogs or anywhere else. "People mistakenly believe
that the First Amendment protects them in the workplace, which is
generally not the case," he said.

Of course, the one issue which few people seem to be talking about is what happens after these bloggers let the cat out the bag, so to speak.  Even if there can be no comeback after a nasty note or two about their employers on their personal blogs, that information can’t be taken back.  It is out there and you better be prepared to deal with what follows.

My advice?  Keep it civil.






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