A visitor to this blog alerted me to a very interesting story happening in Wales. A government employee was fired when it was discovered that he was blogging about coalition negotiations.
What’s interesting about this story is that, according to numerous people, his blogs were neutral and rational. According to the government, he broke several codes, including one that stipulates you should not use information obtained in your job to further private interests.
People are lining up on opposite sides. One group says that his blogging about politics, under any circumstance, was wrong because of his job. Others are saying the government was far too heavy-handed in its decision, since his blog was fair and neutral. The case is being taken to an Employment Tribunal. Here is one blogger’s take on the situation.
There are many examples of people in the United States fired for blogging too.
- Ellen Simonetti – Former Delta Airlines flight attendant
- Mark Jen – Fired from Google for blogging about Google (some of it was negative)
- Chez Pazienza – CNN producer fired for blogging. He says it was because his blog had a strong liberal bias, and CNN does not want its journalists breaking neutrality. CNN says it is because he did not ask permission to write for another outlet. (Interestingly, he was later denied a job from Gawker also because of his blog)
- Jeremy Wright in 2005 – For “divulging company secrets” in a blog
- Drew Townson – This one is the most fascinating to me. He says he was fired for blogging after just five posts. The company lists other reasons. You should check out the entry from right after he was fired (March 18, 2007, I believe). Quite interesting.
There are many more examples, but I need to go to sleep at some point tonight!
Personally, I think that if a person is writing a vulgar blog that can make the company look bad, if they are criticizing the company, or if they are blogging company secrets, then a firing is justified. I mean, if you show up drunk to a company meeting, you could get fired. Or if you insult your boss, you can get fired. So if you do the same thing online, the same thing can happen.
BUT… If your blog is totally innocent and has nothing to do with your job, can there still be harm? What do you think? In what situations is it fair to fire someone for blogging?