Monday, August 22, 2005

Some tips on employee blogging

Almost everyone has or knows someone that has a blog these days. With the increasing number of blogs and the discrepancy in expectation of privacy of an employee’s blog between the employee and the employer, more and more employees are being terminated based on the content in their weblogs. So if you are about to put suggestive photographs on your blog or are considering blogging about work issues, you might want to know your rights:

~ Examine your employment agreement, union contract, employee handbook, etc which may address electronic privacy and computer use issues.

~ Restrict access to your blog and/or post anonymously! If you restrict access to your blog and your employer attempts to access it, they will probably be in violation of the law. You may want to think twice about blogging using your work computer or network (even after hours) because doing so will provide your employer with a much stronger claim to legally read your blog even if you restrict access to it.

~ Government employees are favored by their right to the First Amendment freedom of speech and are thus allowed more blogging rights especially if the content is of public concern and does not disrupt the workplace.

~ Some states prevent employers from interfering with legal activity outside the workplace (blogging has not been specifically included, but may provide a good argument).

~ Your employer typically cannot fire you for blogging about workplace issues that relate to terms and conditions of employment (wages, hours, etc) or unionization. Be sure to make a formal written complaint before you blog about the issue to help you prove that your employer is retaliating against you. Of course, there are exceptions to the retaliation rule: 1) You cannot blog about false or defamatory statements, statements that disclose an employer's trade secrets, and similarly unlawful statements 2) Independent contractors, supervisors, public employees (in some states), and other categories of employees are not included.

Check out the following links if you would like more information on blogging:

Blogger's FAQ
How to Blog Safely

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