When the Blogger Blogs, Can the Employer Intervene?
Today’s New York Times (registration required) features Niall Kennedy and Analee Newitz talking about the employee/employer blogging relationship.
I refer back to my very first post and state that employers and employees need to respect the boundaries of each other. Employers should not interfere with an employee blogging on his/her personal time and an employee should not violate company policy while doing so. I realize that the big question is where that line of company policy should be drawn. I’m still of the belief that the policy should apply towards blogging as it would apply to any legal off-site conduct. As long as the employee is not representing the company in any way that would violate the company’s policies, then the employer has no real right to regulate the employee’s personal blog maintained on the employee’s personal time. However, once the employee breaches the policy by revealing trade secrets for example, then the company has a right to take action. It’s not a matter of free speech. If you are employed by a company, then you are expected to abide by their policies. It’s nothing new.
Again, I find it interesting that the former Delta Airlines employee is used as an example of being fired for blogging. This employee posed provocatively in her Delta uniform on a Delta plane and posted the pictures on her blog. Blogging doesn’t appear to me to be the primary issue, but rather the image she portrayed while representing herself as an employee of Delta that caused her employer to make the decision that was made. I’m fairly sure that the same action would have been taken if she put it on a website or posted the pictures in the employee lunchroom.
Or maybe I’m just in a bad mood tonight.