Monday, 24 September 2007

The cost of blogging

There has been plenty of news and opinion recently about whether bloggers can be considered journalists and whether they can expect certain rights and privileges. Recently, another story in a similar vein was reported by a number of people across the internet. The following is a quote from an article on the Bit-tech website:
"...Jessica Zenner, a 23 year old contractor for Nintendo who has been formally fired for posting inappropriate comments on her personal blog. Jessica, who posted under the pseudonym of Jessica Carr, was unaware of Nintendo’s scrutiny and thought she was protected by her right to freedom of speech."
Yes - Jessica Zenner has been fired for using her right of free speech.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
You could argue that the release of important company information in her blog would harm the company in some way, but after reading the blog there is nothing like that posted there - it's mostly personal stuff. There is one section where she insults a fellow employee, but there is no name mentioned.

The way she was fired wasn't exactly appropriate either. According to The Stranger, she was told by the Human Resources Director via her BlackBerry. The proper way of doing it would be to arrange an appointment with Ms Zenner so they could talk to each other in person.

Ms Zenner could go for wrongful dismissal, but if she did I think she'd only want compensation. Why would you want to be reinstated to a business where there is so much ill-feeling?

Providing people follow things like Non-Disclosure Agreements, you should not be fired for blogging - especially if it's a blog not hosted on the servers of the company. Jessica Zenner used Live Spaces, the Microsoft blogging platform.

So what do you think?

Technorati tags: Jessica Zenner, Nintendo, Blogging


Alfred Thompson said...

Well I think the way this was handled does seem to be pretty poor form. But I wonder if there is more to this than we are hearing. We don't seem to be hearing the company's side at all.

The protection of freedom of speech in the US Constitution is a protection from the government not from private individuals and companies. In fact the right of free association allows companies some rights in who they keep employed.

Anonymous said...

You are not hearing the whole story and she is lying how it happened. She was also using company time to write her blog. inexcusible behavior is right!