Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Blogger canned for criticizing employer

Well, it finally has happened in Britain: a disgruntled employee with a blog is fired for speaking his mind.

Funny thing is, his job was selling other people's opinions in funny little things called "books".

Another funny thing, probably nobody knew about the blog until he was fired. Now Joe Gordon and his employer, Waterstone's, both have an international degree of fame they did not have before.

Even though Joe offered to withdraw the comments and quit blogging, he was fired regardless.

Gordon's criticisms in his blog, or online diary, were read by a small community of fellow bloggers until he was fired and were re-printed in national newspapers and read aloud on national radio. Indeed, the last time he appeared on BBC Radio Scotland, before the recent publicity, it was in his capacity as "expert bookseller from Waterstone's" and now he's "sacked bookseller from Waterstone's". Waterstone's have declined to comment until after the appeal process is complete. --The Herald

I wonder if Waterstone's is perhaps a bit dismayed over all the negative publicity they have created for themselves. This brings up yet again a very good question: what right does an employer have to control what you say or do away from the job? Assuming what was said was true (mostly comments about not getting time off after Christmas), can an employer summarily fire you for stating an opinion? What if he made the same comments to a group of friends and was overheard?

My blog was something I ran for fun, for therapeutic value and because I enjoyed the fact I entertained some friends with it and made new friends via it. Small-scale and mostly read by friends and friends of friends and the occasional person who would come across it somehow - just another (darkly humorous) blog among many tens of thousands around the globe. Now it is being discussed for good or ill by a large number of people around the world - other bloggers, fellow booksellers (in and out of my former company), publishers, fellow reviewers and writers and even journalists. --Joe Gordon in his blog, the Woolamaloo Gazette