LONDON, August 25 /PRNewswire/ — As the global phenomenon of blogging continues to sweep the USA and Europe, online resourcing firm Eazyrecruit is advising both employers and their staff to guard against the potential pitfalls of keeping an online diary.
The warning follows a number of high profile blogging cases both here and in the UK, in which employees were sacked for disparaging their employers on the internet. American flight attendant Ellen Simonetti was famously fired for posting a picture of herself in her uniform on her fictitious ‘diary’ page, while more recently, a bookstore employee, Joe Gordon received his marching orders for complaining about his boss on his personal weblog. With cases like these becoming increasingly common, we can expect to see more and more bloggers paying for their right to free speech with their jobs.
However, as Richard Annington, CEO at Eazyrecruit explains, it’s not just the employees that suffer as a result of their online indiscretions: these types of disputes can prove to be costly and difficult for employers too.
He explains: “As blogging disputes continue to dominate the headlines, it’s not surprising that employers are becoming increasingly worried about incurring the wrath of a disgruntled employee with an online axe to grind. Furthermore, because blogging is a relatively new phenomenon, many businesses aren’t sure what can be done to guard against it.”
According to Eazyrecruit, it is possible to bring a defamation claim against an employee – but this is an expensive and uncertain process. A much more simple and effective method is to update your company’s internet policy.
Richard continues: “There’s no need to put an outright ban on employees keeping online weblogs – after all, what they do in their spare time is up to them. However, it’s perfectly reasonable to introduce a clause in your existing internet usage policy which stipulates that employees who maintain a personal website or online diary cannot use it to make comments about their employer.”
This will make it clear from the outset what will and will not be tolerated. More importantly from the employers’ perspective, if the policy is breached then internal disciplinary proceedings can be initiated without the need for an expensive court case and adverse publicity.
Richard concludes: “Taking precautions before a potentially problematic situation arises is the best solution all round. Employees need to know where they stand and employers should be explicit about what is acceptable behaviour.
“In an incredibly short space of time, blogging has gone from being virtually unheard of to one of the buzzwords of the moment. As the global population becomes increasingly internet literate, we can expect blogging to become a staple method of communication. Businesses which ignore this fact do so at their peril.”
Notes to editors
Eazyrecruit is an online resourcing firm which works with organizations to reduce their cost per hire and eliminate their need to use recruiters, print advertising and job boards to hire staff.
Published Aug. 25, 2009
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