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February 27, 2002 6:31 AM   Subscribe

Webpig of IG got fired because he ran IG. Now Heather Hamilton of dooce.com gets fired because she posted not so nice things about her job and co-workers (though kept all names out of the picture). Is it wrong that people be fired because another employee sends an anonymous email to the boss about these things?
posted by thebwit to General Weblog-Related at 6:31 AM (50 comments total)

Looking at the explanation of why he got fired and the anonymous e-mail that got him fired, it seems like running InternetGossip is only one of the issues involved.
posted by rcade at 6:54 AM on February 27, 2002


Is it wrong that people be fired because another employee sends an anonymous email to the boss about these things?

That question misses the point. Anyone moderately savvy can extrapolate who Heather is and where she works, including her coworkers. The story would read the same if she wrote, "Our CEO was Googling employees' names and came across Dooce, and so...."

Dooce.com is a public forum, and Heather can say what she wants. By the same token, if her employer found out she was speaking cruelly of her office, the employer could take whatever actions it considered necessary. If you stood on the corner and yelled, "My boss is a jackass!" nonstop for two months, your boss would have every right to dismiss you, for subversive behavior if nothing else.
posted by werty at 7:02 AM on February 27, 2002


(on dooce.com) Not having read posts in question and assuming that no names were mentioned, I would think that libel would be difficult to prove against Heather on the companys part. How could they assume she was talking about them?

Right or wrong, I'd take the posts and the letter from the company dismissing her to a lawyer and at least ask for professional advice. By dismissing her, it would seem that they have validated whatever she said on her site as true and acurate. Worst case, she doesn't have a case, best case... her and her lawyer pressures the company into a nice settlement and the company thinks twice about this sort of thing.

Just make sure you don't say anything else nasty until you talk to an attorney. Then, if the atty says you have no wrongful dismissal case, go crazy.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 7:05 AM on February 27, 2002


Pertinent dooce post. This is a good argument for writing fictional weblogs. (And this is a good argument against it.)
posted by rory at 7:06 AM on February 27, 2002


I used to post a lot about my ex-boss, who is now my coworker (for a day, anyway, as I am starting a new job next week). After several people warned me against it, and after I was defensive about it to the end, I took the entries about her off my site (backing them up, of course). I never used names, I never mentioned my employer, anything like that. Hell, I never used my name in my weblog anywhere, so you couldn't google "Alan Smithe" and get back to my blog. I tried to keep it as separated as possible.

Then, I had a few interviews, so I did what any good worker would do: call in sick, put on a tie, and go to the interviews (I fortunately got the job on the second interview). I posted about it on my blog, and thought nothing of it. My boss's boss called me in the next day and brought to my attention that I called in sick and posted on a public site that I had been on a few job interviews. After telling me that I should be fired, he said he would hate to lose me, etc. I felt so embarrased, it was sickening. It was then that I noticed my employer going to my blog much more often, to say the least.

The long and the short of it is, I don't post shit that I wouldn't want my mother or my boss to read. That was the advice from Molly in her HTML book that I read a way back. As much as I tried to keep it separated, they found it (I believe now it was a snitch, but that is neither here nor there). And the night before I posted this, I took down the entries about my ex-boss (talk about timing, right?)

You can't be too careful, and I learned the hard way, and thank whoever-it-is-you-want-to-thank-it didn't cost me my job. It did cost me some trust and integrity, but I guess I am getting a new start anyway, and I am using it as a lesson to learn from, and am going to be much more careful in the future. I found an article lately (can't find it now) describing this and the chances an employer has when he criticizes his employer online, and the courts rule (in the wrongful termination suits) almost exclusively on the side of the employer.
posted by adampsyche at 7:33 AM on February 27, 2002


Thebwit: Most companies have some sort of non-disclosure policy in place. While general bitching about your job might be good venting, it might also let something slip. Something that you might not think is that significant, but may, possibly added with other people bithching about same job, amount to information that could be used against the company. That said: It's best to just keep your trap shut, or deeply obscure the facts.

posted by Su at 7:42 AM on February 27, 2002


The easiest way to keep your employer away from your site is to block all access from your place of business. It's real easy. Let's just say someone I know... found several IPs origininating from this person's school. After further investigation this person found out that several people who were in this person's school thought that bad things would be posted about them (totally groundless, this person never has and never will run a gossip site). After adding a line to httpd.config everything was solved for this person.
posted by geoff. at 7:45 AM on February 27, 2002


I did add my current employer's IP to my .htaccess file, but using anonymizer or just going from home is certainly an option.
posted by adampsyche at 7:54 AM on February 27, 2002


The easiest way to keep your employer away from your site is to block all access from your place of business.

That doesn't help; your boss can read from home, and s/he probably would. You have to be smart and/or careful when posting personal material.

An old coworker of mine once had a site online dedicated to "sex and power issues," complete with kinky short stories he had written. He made it a point not to discuss it in the office, but I still discovered it on my second day on the job. One day, the rest of the office unearthed his site while he was in a meeting, and there was mayhem.

These days, several of my coworkers, and my boss, read my Web site. That's the nature of publishing online: You are, as adampsyche noted, putting your thoughts out there for the world to see, and the world can and does include the people with and for whom you work. I read and enjoy dooce.com, and frankly, the day Heather posted her office rant, I was stunned.

If you really want to write anonymously, pick up a Geocities domain under a false account, and don't post your own name to it. A public domain isn't a private forum.
posted by werty at 8:08 AM on February 27, 2002


I was fired from a job under similar cirumstances as Dooce: I had posted a nameless/companyless journal entry on my site about an argument I had with my employer (over my preferred use of Paint Shop Pro over Photoshop, which they agreed was perfectly fine during my interviews) and they decided to play detective and see what they could find about me. I have very strong reasons to believe, however, that personal conflict within the company (read: the lead designer couldn't design a site to save her soul and hated me for the fact that, though I had no formal design training, I had far more talent) caused them to look for an excuse to fire me, and this 'breach of company confidentiality' was all they could produce.

A friend of mine who still worked there afterward told me that, the day after I was fired, they distributed a letter to all of the employees, explaining that I had been fired because I maintained a site on which I talked shit about everyone in the company, had been working on my own sites during work hours in lieu of doing actual work, and was not a 'team player', all of which were patently false (and many employees called them on that.)

In retrospect, I'm almost happy I got fired from that company, as I never fit in there. I'm more happy that I didn't buy the 2000 Toyota Celica I was planning on purchasing sometime that same week.
posted by Danelope at 8:41 AM on February 27, 2002


Reminds me a lot of what happened a couple of years ago to a guy named Gus who kept a journal that was then discovered by his employers (CollegeClub.com) and he was fired on his birthday.

The story got picked up by Salon and probably some other places.

A sobering reminder to be careful what you post online I guess.......

Having said that, it seems to me that an organisation that fires an employee in these kinds of circumstances is just begging for (potentially) bad publicity.

The case I mention above ended up becoming (in my view) quite high profile, and it certainly didn't do CollegeClub.com any favours in terms of their reputation.

People love the underdog


posted by urban greeting at 8:44 AM on February 27, 2002


I'll be the first to say that -- were I Heather's employer -- her blog would give me serious pause.

But Heather makes my job easier by asking some questions that I'm happy to tackle here:

1. Should I lose my job over what I have written on my personal website, especially if I have made sure not to mention specific places, persons, or events by name?

As personal as her blog was (and man! was it personal), it was by no means private. And regardless of how careful she was not to mention her company, et cetera by name, her postings were still very much public... moreover, _she_ is a very real person, and making the connection would hardly be difficult.

2. At what point does my personal website, regardless of what I've published on the site, affect my professional life ... [w]ould it be any different if someone found a notepad on which I had scribbled things about my job and turned it in to my boss?

There is no such thing as a "personal" life and a "professional" one. No matter how duplicitous we are, we are (nevertheless!) a single person. Of course, duplicity used to be frowned upon... now it seems to be embraced as a by-product of the compartmentalized life.

As for the "diary/notepad" defense: a blog is not private, quite the contrary, and so Heather has no claim.

3. What recourse do I have?

Trial in the courts of public opinion seem to be her forte...

4. Does anyone have Nicole Kidman's phone number? I've suddenly got a lot of free time.

Sorry. I don't... but give me six degrees, and maybe I can get it.

; )

To summate: Heather misses the point entirely.

She was a horribly disaffected employee, which had to impact her ability to perform, the quality of her contribution, or her chemistry within a team setting.

Regardless of how an employer learns of an employee's disaffection, employer's have a duty (to the company, to the clients, et cetera) to consider letting that employee go.

I can only conclude (not really knowing the other side of the story) that Heather's other contributions apparently did not merit a second chance, and/or her employer did not see in Heather's vitriol any redeeming qualities: no reformist zeal, no righteous indignation.

So there you go.

Comments?
posted by silusGROK at 9:02 AM on February 27, 2002


I think that Heather's weblog could be construed as parody.
posted by mecran01 at 9:14 AM on February 27, 2002


If you're the number one Google hit for your name it's wise to figure that anyone could be reading what you're writing. If that stilts your prose, so be it.
posted by rory at 9:16 AM on February 27, 2002


Vis10n, don't you think employers also have a duty to consider addressing the issues rather than immediate dismissal? It seems that this incident went from 0-60 fairly quickly, but as you say, we don't really know the other side of the story.
posted by tommasz at 9:16 AM on February 27, 2002


Tommasz... yeah, it does seem to have escalated fairly quickly. I hope that the company won't regret this haste latter. But as I said before, I can only assume that her dismissal reflects the employer's opinion that her positive contributions were outweighed by her negative ones.

posted by silusGROK at 9:34 AM on February 27, 2002


People keep pointing back to work-related posts in this debate, and I don't think that's really the heart of the matter. I'm certain her employers were waiting for an excuse to let her go because of her blog.

Even if Heather didn't post about work -- her clients, or clients of The Company could easily find out about her blog. Americans in particular are squeamish about honest, human issues like anger, worries, fear, sex, etc. I think that if she wrote about any of those issues (as most journal-bloggers do), then she put herself at risk. And yes, it's unfortunate. But not all employers are going to be cool with their employees' problems up in a public forum -- even if the situations their writing about are normal and natural. I found that out the hard way, and have decided to blog anonymously.

It's an issue someone needs to consider as they're about to start a blog. What is going to be the subject matter? If it's going to have personal material, are you going to be okay the workplace moré that says we shouldn't put our darker, personal details up on the web? Prejudices that think that a blog isn't part of a professional image? Are you willing to get fired for anything you write?
posted by jennak at 9:36 AM on February 27, 2002


I wonder what would be the consequences of an anonymous internal company forum so that people could voice complaints without fearing retribution. I could see the negative and positive consequences of that, I'd be paticularly interested if any company has tried this and what the results were.
posted by geoff. at 9:53 AM on February 27, 2002


Even after I read the posts, I still think it boils down to non-disclosure and libel.

No matter what she said about her company, she didn't name names. No disclosure, no libel. That speaks strongly in her favor. If her employer cited her personal website and assumed that comments she made were about them, then that is a clear assumption. Acting upon assumptions has proven fatal at the water cooler and on the internet too.

Like it or not, unhappiness is not grounds for dismissal. If they were looking for a reason to can her, they should have cited professional and performance related issues. Not used her personal writings, no matter how public they are and easy to find.

Again, I encourage her to lawyer up.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 9:56 AM on February 27, 2002


she has a post titled something like, "how to hate your job" where she seems pleased with herself for showing up to work unwashed with the previous day's clothes on on the same day the company's primary investor is dropping by for a tour. she also has photos of her coworkers and uses their names in the photo captions.

i don't care how i found out about it, i don't want to have an employee that hates working for me. one bad apple spoils the bunch in that respect. especially in this economy, i'd prefer to put her out of her misery and hire someone with a better attitude that's a better fit for the company.

in most states an employer can fire you without having to justify a reason.

posted by centrs at 9:57 AM on February 27, 2002


[If they were looking for a reason to can her, they should have cited professional and performance related issues. ]

Issues she admits to in abundance in her blog. I would have fired her but not because of the blog.

posted by revbrian at 10:00 AM on February 27, 2002


"how to hate your job" where she seems pleased with herself for showing up to work unwashed with the previous day's clothes on on the same day the company's primary investor is dropping by for a tour.

This is assuming that that event is even true. She admits that she exaggerates her posts -- and I'm sure that fantasies enter the mix.

I read Dooce not because I blindly believe her "true" stories but because she seems to take them to the point of absurdity. Now, if she really is as nasty as she wants us to believe, then the dismissal makes a bit of sense.

You can't judge a person by their blog -- especially a blog which is meant to entertain. I know that I'm certainly a lot meaner in person.

Personally, I more concerned that anonymous tipsters can play such a large part in our non-web lives.
posted by mgtrott at 10:07 AM on February 27, 2002


I wonder what would be the consequences of an anonymous internal company forum so that people could voice complaints without fearing retribution.

Netscape had the Really Bad Attitude mailing list (which sounds like it started as an internal newsgroup).

I'd be paticularly interested if any company has tried this and what the results were.

The archives were subpoenaed by Microsoft.
posted by sad_otter at 10:12 AM on February 27, 2002


a few years ago, my personal site was entered into evidence in a lawsuit (in which my then-current employer was being sued by my then-immediately-previous employer) - this despite the fact that there was no mention of either employer, or any work-related information whatsoever, fictionalized or not. if i was the plaintiff in that case, i imagine i might the same thing, searched for information about anything that might have been relevant, and attempted to enter it into evidence as some sort of "proof" of whatever was being alleged.

writing is a public act. writing on the web is a public act. when you act in public in a manner that can be later referenced (including a google cache of something you took down) you need to expect that at some point that absolutely anyone might come across it, and make your choices accordingly.

posted by judith at 10:31 AM on February 27, 2002


Issues she admits to in abundance in her blog. I would have fired her but not because of the blog.

Maybe they were trying to give her a little hint -- hey, you might want to use some discretion to what you say using your real name on the internet.

the internet, honestly, precludes the need to use a given name. though having a pseudonym doesn't mean you're anonymous (and far from it, as I've always thought of handles as representing a particular person -- heck, even when we used to have MUPTs, you'd call folks by their handles) it might give you enough anonymity to deny your association with that figure should it be necessary.
posted by fishfucker at 10:33 AM on February 27, 2002


I used to work for T3Media. Disgruntled ex-employees and current employees under pseudonyms would post there all the time about how much the company sucked. The web is a two way street. I really believe that that website did some damage.

That said, Heather: contact a lawyer. It was really dumb of your company to cite your weblog as the reason for your dismissal as oppossed to just making something else up. If you came to work in the same clothes - big deal - it wasn't an issue at the time. You have nothing to lose, possibly something to gain.

in most states an employer can fire you without having to justify a reason.

In my state you must have a reason. The reason must be legitimate (i.e. not because you're fat, etc.). In any case, they did give her a reason: so now they're stuck with it.

posted by xammerboy at 10:35 AM on February 27, 2002


I used to work for T3Media. Disgruntled ex-employees and current employees under pseudonyms would post there all the time about how much the company sucked. The web is a two way street. I really believe that that website did some damage.

That said, Heather: contact a lawyer. It was really dumb of your company to cite your weblog as the reason for your dismissal as oppossed to just making something else up. If you came to work in the same clothes - big deal - it wasn't an issue at the time. You have nothing to lose, possibly something to gain.

in most states an employer can fire you without having to justify a reason.

In my state you must have a reason. The reason must be legitimate (i.e. not because you're fat, etc.). In any case, they did give her a reason so now they're stuck with it.

posted by xammerboy at 10:37 AM on February 27, 2002


there should be a law to protect employees from this sort of foolishness.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:41 AM on February 27, 2002


ditto what judith said.

no matter how oblique you may feel a post is, it can come back to bite you in the derriere when you least expect it. my little wake up call came in correspondence between my divorce lawyer and my then soon-to-be- ex-husband. it never amounted to much (knock on wood), but the threat was there.
posted by heather at 10:54 AM on February 27, 2002


(in case anyone wonders if this should be in metafilter/metatalk, I think it's important enough for the more public metafilter site, but the discussion quality seems better in here)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:55 AM on February 27, 2002


I don't have a personal blog, but I obviously participate in communities. Now given the somewhat high profile of MeFi, we can safely assume that this read by several employers. Can we also assume we are at risk of termination if our entries on MeFi contradict dreaded 'HR Handbook'?
posted by thekorruptor at 10:59 AM on February 27, 2002


Man, this topic again... always makes me queasy. I never posted anything about my work, save for some funny comments from workmates, on my blog. Okay, there was that one time when I ranted about something based on a memo I shouldn't have seen, but I still never named names nor made concrete allusions as to where I worked. Imagine my complete and utter fury when my officemate would mention my website to coworkers when discussing my webdesign abilities. I hate having to censor myself, but in this day and age, I don't see a way around it. I keep work out of my personal (public) writings because I know someday anything I write could come back to bite me in the ass. Discretion is extremely important nowadays.
posted by evixir at 11:12 AM on February 27, 2002


As long as human beings continue to third planet in our solar system, the anonymous rodents, the shadowy fink bastards who talk behind backs and think little of the cavalier miseries that they eke out to others, will continue to plague society. Welcome to the harsh realities of life. Get used to it. You will have the carpet swept out from under you for no good reason at all. Be prepared for mastications on the ass. And it extends far beyond the world of blogs. Current "at will" employment law only encourages these more atavistic facets of the human animal.
posted by ed at 11:16 AM on February 27, 2002


Be prepared for mastications on the ass.

If that sentence isn't begging to be a tagline, I don't know what is.
posted by adampsyche at 11:27 AM on February 27, 2002


This is an issue that I think about daily with my blog. There is alot of stuff I would love to write about my work environment but there's always that little angel on my shoulder reminding me that a blog isn't a private journal.

It seems like there are many instances of employers at least being aware of employee's blogs, I wonder if anyone has ever had any Metafilter related feedback from their employers. I know that if you google my name it goes straight to my Metafilter profile, it wouldn't be too difficult to track down comments made here.
posted by jonah at 11:28 AM on February 27, 2002


ed - the shadowy fink bastards who talk behind backs and think little of the cavalier miseries that they eke out to others, will continue to plague society.

I'm not sure I'm following. You do mean Heather, for talking shit about her workplace and coworkers behind their backs, right?
posted by NortonDC at 11:29 AM on February 27, 2002


Norton: I mean the anonymous variety fond of HUACing loogeys into the pool.
posted by ed at 11:45 AM on February 27, 2002


holy smokes are you guys giving me the willies
posted by victors at 12:14 PM on February 27, 2002


Is there any legal disclaimer one could put on their website to keep it from being entered as legal evidence or as grounds for being fired? Sort of like a "terms of use" agreement?

I'm just wondering. I also am getting the willies about this. :)
posted by lynda at 12:18 PM on February 27, 2002


Norton: that's certainly smug of you. Far as I know, Heather never got anyone fired by ratting them out to superiours.
posted by solistrato at 12:44 PM on February 27, 2002


well, not yet sjc. she certainly did expose some bad habits and characteristics of her coworkers on her site and now, true or not, those suggestions have been planted in the minds of the powers that be.
posted by centrs at 12:52 PM on February 27, 2002


oh no! not exposing bad habits!

...
posted by Sapphireblue at 1:00 PM on February 27, 2002


You think that's smug, sjc? Hah, then it's a good thing you haven't read what I wrote about you behind your back on my blog.
posted by NortonDC at 1:07 PM on February 27, 2002


um, bad work habits. maybe i should have said "activities"? certainly things (if i were doing them) i wouldn't want brought to light on another person's website. i also wouldn't want a coworker's negative personal impression of me presented as fact on their personal website either.
posted by centrs at 1:09 PM on February 27, 2002


Heather lives (and I assumes works) in California. For those who don't know, California is an "at will" employment state. Employers don't need to have a reason to fire you, and Heather very well could have been hauled into that little room and been told she was fired and that was it. Perhaps she can look at it like they did her a favour in letting her know why they were firing her so that perhaps she didn't make the same mistake with her next job.

As someone who has a foot in both camps - keeping a weblog and being in a managment position where I hire and fire - I can see both sides. But I think anyone who talks about anything to do with their employment on the Internet is taking a big risk.

Freedom of speech and all that, but christ, there has to be 5 million other things one can choose to talk about, no?
posted by cyniczny at 1:21 PM on February 27, 2002


Just to cheer everyone up, I'll point out that it's not as bad as you think: It's worse. In 1994, I got hired by the Associated Press. This was long before Google. It was even before AltaVista. In fact, the AP had only just started connecting to the Net for plain old email access, much less anything else. Anyway, upon getting hired, I put my name and company in my .sig file, just because that was around the tail end of the era in which having a .sig that showed you were a tech employee for some actual company still gave you a little added prestige. Besides, it was my first real job, and I was proud of it. I had the standard "I don't speak for them" disclaimer just like thousands of other posters from thousands of other companies.

Within weeks, someone very high up in the AP found out about it. I hadn't been ratted out by anyone, and it had nothing to do with the actual contents of anything I had posted. Someone "up there" - who turned out to be a member of the September That Never Ended crowd, a Clueless Newbie - happened to be reading one of the areas I posted to. He saw the .sig and freaked out, because he had no clue about the meaning of standard disclaimers. He just saw someone posting "The AP" at the end of everything and hit the roof. And I got called into a meeting with a vice president. (Amusingly, I had even had a conversation a few weeks earlier with the guy in charge of trying to drag the AP onto the Net, and we talked about how hard it was convincing some of the Old Guard about how important this was going to be over the next few years, and how it was almost certain that "the shit was going to hit the fan" in some way or another over some misunderstanding relatively quickly. And sure enough, it was this guy who found himself dragged in to be the liason between the Old Guard and the Young Whippersnapper (i.e. me) when the time came. He's the one that called me and said, "Guess what? The shit's hit the fan. Come over to my office.")

Luckily, the whole thing was straightened out within 15 minutes. The VP was totally understanding about the whole thing; he was just worried about the AP's image (something the corporate culture there always has been extremely careful of), and once the two of us explained that it was just the way things are done Out There on the Net, it actually evolved into a pretty decent conversation about all the various ways the AP might be able to take advantage of the Net (much of which they eventually did). And I got a nice ego boost from being the 24-year-old wunderkind getting to explain THE FUTURE to the fiftysomething VP dude. And that was, thank God, the end of that.

But my point is, Google is nothing but a tool that makes discovery of such things a lot easier. The reality is that most of us run in circles much smaller than we think, depending on our careers and interests. And even out here on the net "at large", most of us keep bumping into many of the same people over and over again no matter where we roam. Given that, Heather's blog was virtually guaranteed to be discovered by a cow-orker eventually, Google or no Google. If every search engine in the world shut down tomorrow, it wouldn't change the fact that someone was eventually going to make the connection.
posted by aaron at 2:18 PM on February 27, 2002


For those that have already posted and are returning to see new comments, Heather's response to this thread has been posted on Dooce.com.
posted by xammerboy at 7:39 PM on February 27, 2002


I refuse to live in fear. I refuse to be censored. etc.
Didn't somebody already say something about her totally missing the point? Well there it is.

The company has the money. If you want to continue getting their money, you do what they say, and hide--well--anything you're not supposed to do. She didn't. She's fired. She's still bitter. End of story.
The company, if they have an even semi-intelligent lawyer, has a non-disclosure policy in place, or maybe even that negativity thing that she mentioned. Exagerrated(FAKE, even; remember Kaycee?) or not, readers don't necessarily know this about entries. Most companies act like the government and make it your responsibility to find these things out("Ignorance of the law is no excuse" blahblahblah). If these policies do exist, and it's a safe assumption at least one of them does, then she fucked up, she got caught, and she has no argument. I would seriously like to side with her on this, just on pricinple, but I honestly don't see a way to do so and believe it.

posted by Su at 3:02 AM on February 28, 2002


Okay. Here's the deal. It's a catch-22.

We should constitutionally have the inalienable right to scream fire in a movie theater. However, the courts had to stipulate that such activity is wrong and must be punished. Why? Cuz it causes a lot of bad things to happen. Like people running and screaming and pushing each other to the doors. It's a bad thing, so as a society we are to all agree that screaming fire in a movie theater is just something one does not do.

A weblog is a public forum. It's free speech. A blogging individual should feel able to post whatever he or she wants. However, doing so does have consequences. Being fired from one's job is just one of many possible effects.

A person has the inalienable right to free speech. Not just in America. I personally believe all human beings everywhere have that right. However, lawmaking bodies curttail those inalienable rights so human beings can tolerantly live together in relative harmony. At least that's usually the goal.

The company has the right to fire a person who calls their boss a boob. The company has the right to employ individuals that are ideal for their working environment. If someone proves themselves to not be a team player or what have you, the company has the right to ditch them.

However, this means that the weblog enthusiast who is still working at that company now has lost some of their inalienable rights. Because that other person used and in some minds abused their inalienable right to free speech by crying "boob!" in their weblog, now the employee that remains becomes aware if they say anything that can be interpreted as unfavorable, they can get screwed too.

And if the company doesn't have to prove it, they might be able to zap the guy anyway. Anyone who has a weblog suddenly becomes less potentially hirable. The company may look at a new hire, learn he has a blog, and opt not to hire him on the assumption that the person may opt to libel the company in the future. Or say something not company related which might not reflect well on the company's reputation, if that company's clients learn that the weblog is written by someone who works for them.

So a weblogger's free speech is then put in jeopardy. Sure he can say what he wants, but if he says what he wants he might suddenly be out of a job, so he's not going to say what he wants and ultimately, will probably stop saying anything at all. Why take the risk.

So our first ammendment rights then fly out the window, courtesy of big business. God. Ya just gotta love America's hypocrisy.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:00 PM on February 28, 2002


Incidentally, this thread is currently number thirty-three at BlogDex...
posted by feelinglistless at 4:26 PM on February 28, 2002


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