March 8, 2005 4:00 AM PST

FAQ: Blogging on the job

(continued from previous page)

that blogging isn't singled out for special treatment in those state laws. "The broader issue is, 'Can your boss fire you for something you do in your private life he doesn't like?'" Maltby says. "In five states he can't. In 45, he can." (The Michigan legislature soon may consider a similar measure.)

That sounds pretty broad. Are there any limitations on an employer's ability to fire me?
Aside from the ones mentioned above, the general rule in the United States is that you can be fired for anything other than an impermissible reason such as your race, sex or sexual orientation. If you happen to disclose your religion or sexual orientation on a blog and you're fired as a direct result of that disclosure, you might have a case. Organizing a union through your blog also is protected under federal law.

What about the First Amendment? Doesn't that protect me?
Not if you're working for a private employer. Read the text again: It says "Congress shall make no law" that abridges "freedom of speech, or of the press." That doesn't say anything about private employers. The First Amendment protects you only from censorial governments.

Are there any court decisions involving bloggers being fired?
A Lexis search through federal and state cases didn't turn up any to date.

What if I'm a union employee? Do I have more protection?
Yes. Union employees generally are protected from being fired without "just cause." Translated, that means you would have to do something pretty evil on your blog--like divulge confidential company information.

How about if I'm a government employee, for example, in the federal civil service?
"A government worker who's at home maintaining his or her own Web site doesn't lose their rights simply because he or she is a government employee," says Barry Steinhardt, director of the technology and liberty program at the American Civil Liberties Union. But Steinhardt cautions that if you're spending a lot of time at work on personal business such as updating your blog, that's a different matter.

Can high school students be disciplined for the contents of their blogs published from a home computer?
Students at government-run schools have been disciplined for this kind of activity before, but the school district may back down when lawyers get involved. "A high school student who produces electronic speech off-campus ought to be protected," Steinhardt says. "If you're using the school's computers, it's a different matter."

Can I blog anonymously?
Of course. If you do that, though, and ruffle enough feathers, your

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23 comments

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Sick of Blogger Stories
Why is CNET OBSESSED with bloggers and their job situations? This is like the tenth story on a subject that has little relevance to the world at large! Stop it! We're sick of it! We're sick of bloggers. Most whine continuously either how much comment spam they get or how pathetic their lives are. The Signal Noise ratio is horrific! Yes there are a few out there that upon occasion show some insight, but there aren't many out there that show consistent, bookmark-able quality to keep you coming back.
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree!!!
I totally agree with Bill on this issue. Blogging is overrated and a hype right up there with instant messaging, chat rooms, and online PC gamin. Remember those next great phenomenons? After the novelty dies off, it's really left for people who are dedicated to living their life on the computer while many people move on. Blogging, IMO, is colossal waster of time. Like Bill said, most of these people are incappable of writing, some are socially inept, and certainly most are w-h-i-n-e-r-s. Give them cheese!

I feel that C/Net is one of many media sources that is hyping this up to be a first admendment and freedom of speech issue with the recent firings of the Delta and Google employee. To be fair, C/Net has gradually change the tone of recent articles noting the other side of the argument (whereas in the first 4-5 stories were more of a "freedom of speech" 'tude). Obviously, so such right exists when one violates a NDA or company ethics. I really could not give a care to people who blog, just DON'T EXPECT ME TO BE SORRY for them losing their jobs over being stupid (i.e. Simonetti and Jen). At least Jen admitted responsibility for his actions and have found new employment.
Posted by BodegaBay (7 comments )
Link Flag
True for the whole Internet, not just blogs
The signal-to-noise ration on the entire Internet is bad. It's true of email, it's true of the web, it's true of P2P networks, it's true of Usenet, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn it's true of IM (I haven't used IM much since college, so I'm not sure how bad it is these days). That's hardly unique to blogs.

10 years ago, this would all have been about email, or emerging websites. And you know, someone would still be saying "all these websites just link to each other, there's nothing interesting, I'm sick of hearing about the web."

Blogs may be a subset of the web, but the pattern is very similar to the emergence of the web, from the initial explosion to the sudden arrival of media and commercial attention.

You know, I'm sick of hearing about this Internet thing. CNET, please stop writing about the Internet. It's all people whining about how much spam they get and copyright lawsuits. Sure, there are a few interesting sites on the web, but most of them are boring and the signal-to-noise ratio is way too high.
Posted by Kelson (64 comments )
Link Flag
BUT...
You have to admit they are onto something: Look how everyone uses blogs now. In fact, you just used a blog-type interface to post a message about how you hate blogs. Blog blog blog.
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
signal to noise
Does the perceived signal to noise ratio of Blogs not apply to all human communication?
Posted by tennapel (22 comments )
Link Flag
Sick of Blogger Stories
Why is CNET OBSESSED with bloggers and their job situations? This is like the tenth story on a subject that has little relevance to the world at large! Stop it! We're sick of it! We're sick of bloggers. Most whine continuously either how much comment spam they get or how pathetic their lives are. The Signal Noise ratio is horrific! Yes there are a few out there that upon occasion show some insight, but there aren't many out there that show consistent, bookmark-able quality to keep you coming back.
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree!!!
I totally agree with Bill on this issue. Blogging is overrated and a hype right up there with instant messaging, chat rooms, and online PC gamin. Remember those next great phenomenons? After the novelty dies off, it's really left for people who are dedicated to living their life on the computer while many people move on. Blogging, IMO, is colossal waster of time. Like Bill said, most of these people are incappable of writing, some are socially inept, and certainly most are w-h-i-n-e-r-s. Give them cheese!

I feel that C/Net is one of many media sources that is hyping this up to be a first admendment and freedom of speech issue with the recent firings of the Delta and Google employee. To be fair, C/Net has gradually change the tone of recent articles noting the other side of the argument (whereas in the first 4-5 stories were more of a "freedom of speech" 'tude). Obviously, so such right exists when one violates a NDA or company ethics. I really could not give a care to people who blog, just DON'T EXPECT ME TO BE SORRY for them losing their jobs over being stupid (i.e. Simonetti and Jen). At least Jen admitted responsibility for his actions and have found new employment.
Posted by BodegaBay (7 comments )
Link Flag
True for the whole Internet, not just blogs
The signal-to-noise ration on the entire Internet is bad. It's true of email, it's true of the web, it's true of P2P networks, it's true of Usenet, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn it's true of IM (I haven't used IM much since college, so I'm not sure how bad it is these days). That's hardly unique to blogs.

10 years ago, this would all have been about email, or emerging websites. And you know, someone would still be saying "all these websites just link to each other, there's nothing interesting, I'm sick of hearing about the web."

Blogs may be a subset of the web, but the pattern is very similar to the emergence of the web, from the initial explosion to the sudden arrival of media and commercial attention.

You know, I'm sick of hearing about this Internet thing. CNET, please stop writing about the Internet. It's all people whining about how much spam they get and copyright lawsuits. Sure, there are a few interesting sites on the web, but most of them are boring and the signal-to-noise ratio is way too high.
Posted by Kelson (64 comments )
Link Flag
BUT...
You have to admit they are onto something: Look how everyone uses blogs now. In fact, you just used a blog-type interface to post a message about how you hate blogs. Blog blog blog.
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
signal to noise
Does the perceived signal to noise ratio of Blogs not apply to all human communication?
Posted by tennapel (22 comments )
Link Flag
Your reply subject line:
I guess a BBS is a blog, then. Hey everyone, Cnet is reporting on a 25 year old tech! Notice how news organizations use the term blog? Doesn't a blog lose meaning when just about everything electronic can be considered one?
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Your reply subject line:
I guess a BBS is a blog, then. Hey everyone, Cnet is reporting on a 25 year old tech! Notice how news organizations use the term blog? Doesn't a blog lose meaning when just about everything electronic can be considered one?
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Reply Link Flag
where is the right to freedom of speech?
do we still have freedom of speach in this country or what???? After all has it been deleted from the constitution or what? A right to express your opinion on a subject or question should not be governed on whether the reply is right or wrong ,agreeable or not but rather on the facts and the truth whether you agree or not still does not give you the right to fire someone for there option of what they think on the matter just because you happen to be in disagreement. ps. if you are a loser then you are a loser so be it.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Freedom of speech
You have the right of freedom of speech. You have the right to end your relationship with your employer with any time (quitting).

Your employer also generally has the right to end its relationship with you (it's called getting fired).

It's pretty unreasonable to expect someone to pay you to work for them if you're, say, complaining about the company publicly.
Posted by declan00 (848 comments )
Link Flag
where is the right to freedom of speech?
do we still have freedom of speach in this country or what???? After all has it been deleted from the constitution or what? A right to express your opinion on a subject or question should not be governed on whether the reply is right or wrong ,agreeable or not but rather on the facts and the truth whether you agree or not still does not give you the right to fire someone for there option of what they think on the matter just because you happen to be in disagreement. ps. if you are a loser then you are a loser so be it.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Freedom of speech
You have the right of freedom of speech. You have the right to end your relationship with your employer with any time (quitting).

Your employer also generally has the right to end its relationship with you (it's called getting fired).

It's pretty unreasonable to expect someone to pay you to work for them if you're, say, complaining about the company publicly.
Posted by declan00 (848 comments )
Link Flag
blogger stories
I know there is alot of blogs out there about everything but this is everyones chance to use their creative thinking also. I enjoy blogging because it allows me to express myself and hopefully interest other people in reading it. If your interested in reading something with creativity and a story line you are more then welcome to visit my blog at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://apowerfrombeyond.blogspot.com" target="_newWindow">http://apowerfrombeyond.blogspot.com</a>
and see if you still believe all blogs are garbage. thank you for your interest in advance
Posted by amber_red (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
blogger stories
I know there is alot of blogs out there about everything but this is everyones chance to use their creative thinking also. I enjoy blogging because it allows me to express myself and hopefully interest other people in reading it. If your interested in reading something with creativity and a story line you are more then welcome to visit my blog at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://apowerfrombeyond.blogspot.com" target="_newWindow">http://apowerfrombeyond.blogspot.com</a>
and see if you still believe all blogs are garbage. thank you for your interest in advance
Posted by amber_red (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Emergency Legislation 1 Jul 2012

Politician salaries to be reduced for each job lost

Labor-hire and HR to be outlawed as a result of United Nations ruling on human rights abuse

Hiring managers obliged to hire at least 10% unemployed

Fines and jail terms to be imposed for discrimination and privacy infringement with respect to age, employment-status and history

Company owners, executives and families to serve 8 weeks per year in homes of lowest paid employees
Posted by Thiago20 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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