DOOCED IF I KNOW: Getting fired for blogging

Companies get tough on employee bloggersYesterday’s posting concerned, a web site designed to give employees a chance to anonymously rate and post comments about the companies they work for. For those of you who didn’t catch last night’s World News Tonight on ABC, the Internet may not be the safe and anonymous place everyone seems to think it is—as some bloggers have learned the hard way.

Blogging has swept the globe—by some estimates there may be as many as five million blogs out there, and that number grows daily. And any number of bloggers write about their jobs—recounting tales of workplace woes, insufferable bosses, and annoying co-workers.

Unfortunately in some cases bloggers have been “dooced”—fired over the content of their blogs.

Personally I’m not convinced that firing bloggers for writing about their jobs online is necessarily the right approach. Blogging may be symptomatic of a widespread internal problem that companies need to take seriously—a kind of corporate malaise that needs to be diagnosed and treated.

There are some tough questions companies should be asking themselves. Why do employees feel the need to vent online? Are there no mechanisms in place for employees to raise and address issues? If there are mechanisms, why were they not used in this case? How adequate are they? Does the company encourage or discourage open and honest communication between management and employees? What does the company do to promote dialogue and joint problem-solving?

Firing bloggers doesn’t eliminate the issues that prompted the blogging in the first place. Instead, it leaves them unresolved.

Wouldn’t surprise me if blogging doesn’t become the hot new topic in workplace mediation…

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