Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Muzzled Life

Posted By on Sun, Jul 24, 2005 at 11:05 AM

Buried deep in the Sunday Times business section today is a "Career Couch" Q&A column on blogging about work. Mostly the usual advice we've seen before, which generally distills down to don't expect to publish unsavory comments about your workplace on the Internet and not have it come back to haunt you. But there is also this:

Q. What if you don't use your blog to discuss work?

A. Keeping work issues off your personal blog does not mean that your employer won't hold the blog against you. "It doesn't matter if you blog about skydiving or pornography," said Daniel M. Klein, a partner at the Atlanta law firm Buckley & Klein. "If your employer feels the blog makes you a poor representative of their corporate values, the executives have the freedom to disassociate themselves from you."

A potent reminder, this, that free speech rights are essentially nil when it comes to control over employee activities by private-sector employers -- unless you either (a) work under an employment contract expressly protecting those rights, or (b) live in one of a very few states with laws barring employers from punishing lawful off-work activities (Tennessee is not in that group).

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