Personal Blog Post Gets Reporter Fired

August 1, 2013 – In The News

Christina Stoneburner was quoted in the SHRM article "Personal Blog Post Gets Reporter Fired." While the full text can be found in the August 1, 2013, issue of SHRM, a synopsis is noted below.

A television reporter was recently fired after writing a list of 10 sarcastic observations about her job on her personal blog. Private-sector employees do not have First Amendment free-speech rights concerning anything they might say about their job, but often assume they do.

“More and more people are blogging but do not have the perception of what’s appropriate from a customer or client’s view and try to make this a First Amendment issue,” Christina Stoneburner said.

Stoneburner added, that sometimes employees’ blog posts reflect more than just bad judgment, as employees often vent on blogs, saying he or she “wants to kill my boss,” something there is zero tolerance for.

“There’s been more of a focus on violence because of Sandy Hook,” Stoneburner said.

While employees do not have full freedom of speech online about their jobs, companies cannot say that employees may not say anything negative about the organization, Stoneburner said. If an employee complains about the terms of employment or pay, that comment may be protected by the National Labor Relations Act.

“Employers still struggle with how to deal with social media, especially as more employers want their employees to engage in social media,” Stoneburner concluded.