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FAQ’s on blogging on the job : CNET

As Rick Bruner says at Business Blog Consulting, CNET’s FAQ’s on blogging on the job should be required reading for all employees publishing a blog. It’s scary stuff.

As blogging grows more companies are likely to discipline bloggers who disclose confidential or embarrassing information. And the bottom line in most states is if the employer is offended there is no protection to being fired says CNET.

Here’s some highlights from CNET’s FAQ’s.

  • Can blogging hurt my career? If you’re already employed, your blog could get you fired. In most cases, bloggers have been let go for either criticizing the company or fellow workers, disclosing embarrassing or confidential information or otherwise offending the boss’ sensibilities.
  • How risky is blogging really? Blog firings are relatively rare. In a recent survey of 279 human resource professionals by the Society for Human Resources Management, just 3 percent of companies reported disciplining bloggers and none reported firing anyone for blogging.
  • Is my company likely to have guidelines and policies about it yet? Few companies have created policies that specifically address blogging. But most corporate policies already address many issues related to blogs, such as protecting confidential information, upholding the company’s reputation, and Internet use at work.
  • Can my employer fire me if I blog from home on my own time? Yes. If your boss should see your blog and be offended by something there, in most states you have virtually no protection against being fired. Exceptions include discrimination based on race, sex, age, or sexual orientation. California, New York, Colorado, Montana and North Dakota recently have enacted laws limiting when an employer can fire you based on something you do off-duty that’s not related to your job.
  • What about the First Amendment? Doesn’t that protect me? Not if you’re working for a private employer. The First Amendment protects you only from censorial governments.
  • As a union employee do I have more protection? Yes. Union employees generally are protected from being fired without “just cause.”
  • Can I blog anonymously? You may but if you cause too many problems the company could file a “John Doe” lawsuit in an effort to unmask you by sending a subpoena to the blog hosting company. To shield yourself from lawsuits and other legal worries, posting to your blog through a service like Anonymizer.com might be a safer choice.
  • Do all companies consider blogging an activity unrelated to work? No. Some companies view blogs as a good marketing mechanism and encourage employees to create them. If that’s the case, it’s reasonable to update your blog on the company clock.

I know we need some common sense guidelines to protect employers but I sure hope we do not ruin a good thing like blogging by scaring employess from publishing a blog.

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