This is a course blog for the classes on digital government and social media in the public sector" class taught by Professor Ines Mergel at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. The blog posts include comments and ideas from MPA, MAIR and EMPA students studying the use of new technologies in the public sector.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Blogging At Your Job
Blogging at your job
Everyone needs a vent to talk about office stuff. It
could be gossip or about bragging and showcasing your accomplishments, share
your sorrows and troubles, or just discuss an event, or maybe be even touch
about how the personal life is mixing up with the office, or simply recount the
day's events as a way of decompressing.
Whatever your reasons, if you blog, you take on all the
liability and employment security risks that come with publishing to a
potential readership of a billion people -- even though the actual size of your
audience may be just a handful of people or no one.
As with many other forms of publishing, work-related
blogging corries with an array of legal perils, including libel and defamation;
infringement of intellectual property rights such as trademark, patent and
copyright; and breach of company confidentiality and other restrictions in a
worker's terms of employment.
Most workers shouldn't blog under the illusion that
free-speech rights will protect them from their employers, either.
Still, special forms of speech may be somewhat protected.
Blogging about unionizing, 0ne may get more protection than they would
otherwise. Whistle-blowing, airing political opinions and reporting the
goings-on in a workplace may also be protected, depending on the law.
shouldn't blog under the illusion that free-speech rights will protect them
from their employers, either. I
Many bloggers seek to write anonymously by changing names
and other identifying details
But bloggers shouldn't assume that their attempts at
anonymity will be successful. One slip -- or a betrayal by a former confidant
-- could land a blogger in big trouble with his employer or the law.
There are two modes of thought regarding blog policy
development. The first option is to not develop a separate policy for blogging. This would
entail simply following a general policy statement such as
“The organisation expects all employees and volunteers to act
professionally on the job, and refrain from behavior on and off the job, that
could adversely impact the organisation’s reputation, mission, or otherwise
violate the Code of Conduct.”
The second option would involve developing a stand-alone blogging policy or
enhance the existing electronic communications systems policy to include
blogging.Policy should address, at a
minimumsome of the following:
• Personnel may not use organisation equipment or technology for
personal purposes, including maintaining a personal blog.
• Employee publications, including personal blogs, must not
include sensitive confidential information related to the organisation or
otherwise violate the organisations non discrimination and harassment policies or
code of conduct. Employees are prohibited from making defamatory comments when posting
blogs about the organisation, its personnel, or
parties doing business with or serviced by the organisation.
• Employees must clearly communicate that the views expressed in
their blogs are their own and not those of the organisation.
Employees who violate the electronic communications system
policy will be subject to disciplinary measures, up to and including