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European employee fired for blog wins claim versus employer

The UK’s Workplace Law Network reports that an English employee fired for blogging won a claim against her employer.

Catherine Sanderson’s ‘La Petite Anglaise‘ blog included her musings on her home and work life. Her employer, accountancy firm Dixon Wilson, was never named. Sanderson also remained anonymous, but her blog did feature her photo.

Sanderson claimed she was dismissed for ‘gross misconduct’ because her blog ‘risked bringing the company into disrepute’. She was also accused of using office time to write her blog.

Wilson’s lawyer told a Paris tribunal that she had risked sullying the company’s reputation by writing about her work.

However, the tribunal concluded that she had been dismissed last year ‘without real and serious causes’; Dixon Wilson was ordered to pay her €44,000 in compensation plus €500 in legal fees.

In the United States every state except for, I think, two follow the employee-at-will doctrine. That means, in the absence of an employment contract, an employee may be fired for any reason short of discrimination for age, sex, race, and national origin.

In essence, in the States, you have the right to blog, but not the right to a job.

Other countries, I’m informed, do not follow the employment-at-will doctrine. Multiple warnings are usually required before a firing unless it rises to the level of gross misconduct.

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