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You’re Fired… You’re A Celebrity…

thanks to Gerry for flagging… So I guess this guy will become an instant celebrity with book offers and speaking engagements galore.

Sun’s blog policy was always pretty straightforward – don’t do anything stupid and don’t do anything to harm the company. When blogging you always run the risk that your employer might actually read, and react, to what you write. Much like there is nowhere for companies to hide anymore, there is equally few dark corners in the blogsphere for employees. ‘Slagging off’ you boss online can’t be a smart move. Like your boss is going to make your life easier for doing so?

So, having failed this basic logic test, Joe – the punished one – makes some fair points –

If my rights to the freedom of expression can be ignored in this manner then so can the rights of any worker’s. You also have to ask yourself who is listening to you? Who is reading what you write and passing judgement? Is it acceptable for companies to be monitoring what their employees do in their own time? To act as if your employment contract controls every aspect of your personal life outside of work?

While I agree that his termination does raise issues of free speech I don’t agree that blogging is akin to a conversation in a pub. A bog is a very public forum, a private conversation in a pub isn’t. It’s, well, private.

For the most part I think the employer is at fault here. Microsoft, at least publicly, has taken a very different tack than Waterstone’s. They appear to be celebrating the criticism employees are leveling at the company. This is the opportunity Waterstone’s had. They provide a very unique opportunity to figure out how to make the company a better place. What better window could you ask for into the soul and smarts of the employee?

And let’s face it, if at a basic level they provide a vehicle for employees to just rant, that can’t be a bad thing. We’re all smart enough to discard the opinion of the aggrieved and crazed employee with a grudge against their boss – or only be amused by it. But why make that individual another martyr in the blog wars?

I wonder how long before policies regarding blogs make there way into employment contracts. If your company does have a formal blog policy can you please send it over to me?

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