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Posts Tagged ‘libel’


Have you been watching? I have, and I am disturbed.

I think we all know by now that before someone is called for a job interview, HR is scouring the internet to see what they can find about prospective employees. That’s one part of this.

My response to this is: privacy settings.  Use ’em.

Be judicious about who you have as “friends.” My rule is that if I don’t know someone, I don’t friend them.  Some people don’t care. I do. If I don’t know someone reasonably well, I don’t friend them. Ya, I know, I’m weird that way. 😆

That’s not what has me thinking. Nope. What’s got me thinking and wondering this morning is another ruling pertaining to firing/disciplining employees for something they shared online. Usually, this happens on FaceBook.

In this case, the ruling was in the employee’s favor. More and more, though, I have seen policies going into play that dictate what a person can share online. In one case, it’s no pictures having to do with the profession (these are public employees). The policy, as I understand it, also includes verbiage that includes dismissal resulting from comments posted online.

I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but this has me scratching my head to some degree. I can understand the need for a policy that deals with any kind of information shared; whether it’s verbal or in writing if it, for example, involves a criminal case. People often lack common sense, and once it’s out there, it’s out there. (Use your privacy settings, people! And don’t count on the fact that things will stay the same and that what you just wrote won’t ever be broadcast to the general public at large- if it’s out there, chances are that someone could- and probably will-  find it!)

But venting and being frustrated getting people fired? Are they sharing state secrets which make them guilty of espionage? Did they share something online that is a federal offense?

As someone who actually was the receiving end of libel, and someone who learned how hard it is to prosecute and win this kind of case (particularly if no big money was going to be able to be won), it just leaves me scratching my head.

Where is the line between freedom of speech and libel?

When did we start living in such a nanny state that people are not allowed to vent without fear of repercussion?

{We’re not talking cyber-bullying (or plain ‘ole bullying) here- that is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. I do agree, in large part, that people have lost manners. It’s really easy to cut loose and dash off stuff we would never say to a person’s face.}

A few years ago, I probably would have taken the stance that if you hated a place so much that you had to disparage it online, maybe you should find somewhere else to work. Not that it wasn’t your right, of course, to offload frustration, but if you were sooooooo unhappy, maybe you ought to shift gears and work somewhere else. No one benefits from continually being mired in a toxic situation.

These day, though, jobs are few and far between. With the economy and job climate the way it is, something really is better than nothing in most cases.

When did the rights of an employer change a person’s fundamental right to free speech? I realize there have always been policies in place for an employee’s conduct. When did it spill over into a person’s private life and the ability to voice an opinion?

I can even see this as a problem if you are in the public eye as a representative of the company.  Clearly, you can’t promote the company, if that is part of your job description, if you are busy talking out the other side of your mouth and being consistently disparaging. Obviously, there is a disconnect there.

But to be able to fire someone for saying/writing on their own time something you don’t like? Am I the only one who feels this is a bit over the top and a lot big-brotherish?

What has this world gotten to?!

Sound off and leave me a comment!

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