Bloggers run risk of sack when talking shop

More than a third of bloggers have admitted to posting information or comments about their employer or colleagues and could get the sack as a result.

In a survey carried out by YouGov for Croner, a human resources consultancy, of those who keep a personal blog, 39 per cent said they have made potentially sensitive or damaging posts.

Gillian Dowling, technical consultant at Croner, explained that if a post is deemed to have damaged the employer’s corporate image, it could lead to dismissal for the employee.

‘If there is a negative impact on the organisation’s corporate image which is so serious that it breaches the implied term of mutual trust and confidence, the employee could be dismissed for gross misconduct,’ she said.

And it is not only employees who should be concerned, she added. Employers need to be aware that blogging can result in the disclosure of confidential business information, including information about the organisation’s finances and new products.

Downing likened blasé attitudes to blogging to the way in which people treated email when it was introduced. Both employers and employees are now well aware of the risks of sending sensitive or damaging emails, Downing said. They now need to take the same approach to blogging.

‘With blogging, the employee, sitting in front of the computer screen, experiences the same lack of embarrassment as they do with email because there is no face-to-face contact,’ she said. ‘An employee can be lulled into a false sense of security and sound off about [their] bad day at work in a blog without fully considering the impact such a posting may have.’

Croner advised employers to take appropriate steps to minimise potential risks. Steps could include extending their Internet or media and communications policy to cover blogging.

Sackings as a result of blog postings are not unknown in the UK. In 2005 Joe Gordon, who had worked for Waterstone’s for 11 years, was dismissed after referring to the bookseller as ‘Bastardstone’s’.

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