Employment Termination for Employee Blogging: Number One Tech Trend for 2005 and Beyond, or a Recipe for Getting Dooced?
Ellen Simonetti, a Delta Airlines flight attendant, hosted a blog entitled â€œQueen of the Skyâ€ on which she appeared in her Delta uniform. She was summarily fired. Her termination is among the growing number of cases in which employees have been fired for blogging both in and out of the workplace. The legal issues surrounding these terminations are addressed from both the employee and employer perspectives. The attempt is to demonstrate that in the final analysis, when balancing employee workplace-related rights (freedom of speech and privacy, if any, public policy exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine, etc.) with those of the employer (protection of proprietary interests in intellectual property, trade secrets, liability for defamation, obscenity, etc.), the employer will probably prevail notwithstanding the overall lack of employer blogging policies or recent statutory enactments which ostensibly limit an employerâ€™s ability to fire at-will employees.