Search
Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » Work Blogger, Beware
Work Blogger, Beware

Work Blogger, Beware

The Perils of Journaling Your Job

There are many reasons you might blog about your job. You may want to brag about your accomplishments, vent about your cheese-moving coworkers or sociopathic boss, reveal whom you caught with whom on the floor of the server closet or simply recount the day's events as a way of decompressing.

Whatever your reasons, if you blog, you take on all the liability and employment security risks that come with publishing to a potential readership of a billion people -- even though the actual size of your audience may be just a handful of people or no one.

Work Blogging Risks

How is blogging different from just putting up a personal Web site? "The difference is that the easy-to-use tools available for blogging take away the barriers to getting online," says Rebecca Jeschke, a spokeswoman for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a civil liberties advocacy group.

The danger to blogging about your job comes when you allow no-brainer publishing technology -- together with a mistaken sense of anonymity -- to embolden you to record observations more appropriate for a private, paper-based journal than a global electronic network.

"People need to think long and hard about whether they're comfortable blogging about work in an unprotected way," Jeschke says.

One workplace blogger puts it even more plainly: "When you start a blog, you have to assume you're going to be found out," says the anonymous author of Waiter Rant, which chronicles the trials and tribulations of a New York City restaurant server.

Being fired for blogging, which is known as "getting dooced" in the blogosphere, really happens -- and when it does, it often gets lots of news coverage. Delta Air Lines, Google, Ladies Home Journal, Wells Fargo and an Ohio congressman are among the employers that have reportedly terminated workers over their blogs.

Still, only 3 percent of companies surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management said they had sanctioned bloggers, and none had fired them, according to a CNET report. And according to a Monster poll, when asked if they ever blog about work, 58 percent of respondents answered, "What are blogs?"

Legal Perils of Blogging

As with many other forms of publishing, work-related blogging carries an array of legal perils, including libel and defamation; infringement of intellectual property rights such as trademark, patent and copyright; and breach of company confidentiality and other restrictions in a worker's terms of employment.

Where should a wannabe blogger begin? "If the company has a policy on blogging, that's the first thing that workers should check," says Stephen Lichtenstein, a law professor at Bentley College.

Most workers shouldn't blog under the illusion that free-speech rights will protect them from their employers, either. "The First Amendment only restricts governmental control of speech," says Robin Bond, a lawyer and consultant to Fortune 500 executives.

Still, special forms of speech may be somewhat protected. "If you blog about unionizing, you may get more protection than you would otherwise," Jeschke says. Whistle-blowing, airing political opinions and reporting the goings-on in a federal workplace may also be protected, depending on state law, according to EFF.

EFF has published a safe-blogging guide that covers how to blog anonymously as well as the defenses you might mount against an employer who attempts to retaliate against you for blogging.

Anonymity: Not as Foolproof as It Looks

Many bloggers seek to write anonymously by changing names and other identifying details. "Being anonymous is very important, because it allows me to say what I want to say," says the Waiter Rant blogger, who has achieved some notoriety in the blogosphere.

But bloggers shouldn't assume that their attempts at anonymity will be successful. One slip -- or a betrayal by a former confidant -- could land a blogger in big trouble with his employer or the law. "I'm advising my clients not to be deceived by the sense of anonymity," Bond says.

What if a worker changes identifying details in his blog about work but is still found out? "I would be hard-pressed to find a law that would prevent the employer from firing a worker in that situation," Bond advises.

The Waiter Rant blogger says he's not worried. "I don't dish on people," he says. "I don't write too much about coworkers, and when I do, I ask permission first."

Latest Jobs

McKesson
Posted: 08/22/2014
Salisbury, MD, 21801
Alfred Angelo
Posted: 08/22/2014
Coral Gables, FL, 33146
Alfred Angelo
Posted: 08/22/2014
Delray Beach, FL, 33444
Alfred Angelo
Posted: 08/22/2014
Dublin, OH, 43017
Alfred Angelo
Posted: 08/22/2014
Baltimore, MD, 21202

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.45.50-320
eTrustLogo