Wakeup Call? Losing Your Job Because of Your Blog

Surfing around through Kelly’s site, one surf leads to another (isn’t that a song?), and I ended up at Dooce.com. On Feb 26, 2002, the author of this site lost her job because of something she’d written in her blog. So I’m reading away, and notice her post from today has 131 responses, and I’m like, that’s a hell of a lot of comments. So I go to put in a comment because the thread is about if you could take one song and one book as you fled the nuclear holocaust, what might they be? I look over the entire page, and can’t find any place on the site that lets me submit a post. Argh! Frustration sets in.

So I start checking some of the 131 posts, and end up at Paul’s Boutique, and discover that Paul (Gutman) has written the following paper: Did You Just Say That?: Blogging and Employment Law in Conflict, to be submitted for publication to the Columbia Journal of Law and the Arts. Paul writes: “While it might be pretentious and unnecessarily legal and long, I think bloggers might find this worthwhile reading if they like their jobs.” I like my job (thank you, God, for tenure.) (I don’t agree that it’s pretentious – it is a submission to a scholarly journal. Legal, yes, but it needs to be.) In the submission, he highlights a number of well known incidents in which bloggers were fired from their jobs because of something they wrote that miffed their employers.

This is serious food for thought, and I encourage you to at least scan Gutman’s submission.

UPDATE (15 June 2004): The draft of Paul Gutman’s article is no longer available for viewing online. It has been revised and modified, and published in v27 n1 of The Columbia Journal of Law & The Arts.

11 Responses to “Wakeup Call? Losing Your Job Because of Your Blog”

  1. jen Says:

    you can comment right under her post. i love dooce, she is funny as heck.

  2. randy Says:

    Jen, is there anyone in Blogland who you DON’T know? R

  3. jen Says:

    nope, im a blogslut.

  4. randy Says:

    And an AWESOME one at that.

  5. jen Says:

    i heart you randy. *smooch*

  6. Stephen Says:

    Sounds like another potential downside to blogs, eh?

  7. randy Says:

    Yes, it could be. I think if a blogger uses discretion and common sense, the potential to be dismissed from one’s job because of what one has written in a public forum should be small, if at all. But as we see in Gutman’s article, it has happened. As I think of it, I do know someone who has slagged his/her co-workers and/or supervisor on his/her blog. In retrospect, probably not the wisest thing to do!

  8. randy Says:

    Jen, I just checked Dooce’s site, and notice that her most recent post has received 230 comments. I’m happy if I receive one or two!

  9. jennifer Says:

    I know, she is the ultimate blog goddess.

  10. Limegirl Says:

    That someone wouldn’t happen to have a name that rhymes with slimefurl, would they?

  11. Paul Gutman Says:

    As it turns out, although that particular document isn’t available anymore, it did get published in the 27th Volume, first issue of the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts. (it’s on page 145.)

    Thanks for the support!

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