Previously I wrote about a Google employee Mark Jen who blogged about his experiences at Google. Well, he was fired only several weeks later when other Google employees complained behind his back. I had an opportunity to see the original posts and the revised posts, and I must admit they were borderline inappropriate. Google reprimanded and fired him on the first offense (clearly not good management practice). Of course, he could’ve been smarter about what he posted, but everyone makes mistakes. It’s the fact that he was not given the opportunity to correct those mistakes that gets me a little miffed.
What he has done has brought up a very important legal topic for today’s electronic age. What happened to Mark Jen has happened to many bloggers. If you read the Washington post article titled “Free Expression Can Be Costly When Bloggers Bad-Mouth Jobs“, you’ll notice a trend. Free speech in the constitution does not apply to corporate settings. I took one law class in my Masters degree program at UoP, and there was a case that set a legal precendent that allows employers to fire employees for inappropriate behavior using email. It would be interesting to see if this precendent can be applied to the blogging world as well. In any case, companies should clearly have blogging policies, since it is becoming a very hot trend in the online world. This way, there is no grey legal issue if someone writes something inappropriate on their blog about the company they work for.