The Wall Street Journal and CNN once again have reported on the legal ramifications of blogging and tweeting about your job. In particular, the CNN article discusses what is becoming an almost every day occurrence in the American workplace: an anonymous blogger is terminated after being outed or after he or she reveals his or her true identity under their own free will and accord.
In general, most employment situations in the United States are employment-at-will. This means that an employer or employee can terminate the employment relationship for any reason. Over the years, three main exceptions to this rule have been recognized:
1) A Public Policy Exception
2) An Implied Contract Exception
3) A Covenant Of Good Faith and Fair Dealing Exception
Some states recognize all three while other states may only recognize 1 or 2 of these exceptions. Every organization should have a social media policy. In the 1980's, creating a sexual harassment policy was all the rage. In the 1990's, creating an Internet usage policy became necessary. Now, all organizations that have employees should have a written social media policy. These policies should strike a fair balance between employee and employer rights. Unfortunately, until these types of policies become the norm and not the exception in the American workplace more employees will be terminated for their blogs, posts, and tweets.
Copyright 2009 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.