Friday, July 16, 2010

Can Blogging Get You Fired?

by David McCarthy

Can blogging about your job or your boss get you fired?


Illinois is an at-will State. Either party to the employment relationship can end it at any time for any reason.

By and by exceptions have emerged as to the right of the employer to end the employment relationship. To fire someone after she has complained of discrimination because of race, sex, age, or disability is to run the risk of liability for "retaliatory discharge."

As for blogging about the job or the boss, it is tempting to suppose that the constitutional guarantees of free speech diminish or eliminate the right of the employer to fire the blogger. But it is not so.

First, the constitutions regulate only the relationships between individuals and the national and state governments, not the relationships between individuals and private employers.

Second, the Illinois Supreme Court has expressly rejected the proposition that a claim for retaliatory discharge can be grounded on free speech. There is an exception when the free speech is of the "whistleblower" variety.

Otherwise, you can blog to your heart's content and no judge will prohibit it. But you take what comes, and if a "pink slip" is what comes, you might as well put all your attention on looking for a new job because you are going nowhere with a claim of retaliatory discharge.

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