Sex, Flatulence, and Blogging About Work!

June 12, 2008 - by: Troy Foster 3 COMMENTS

Dwight Shurte and Creed Bratton from The Office both have blogs. Dwight warns readers that they shouldn’t be reading his blog while they are at work. Employment law attorney Troy Foster reminds HR and employers that they should have policies about employees blogging about work as well as at work.

With another week with no episode of The Office, I had to find something interesting to get your attention!  In that endeavor, I stumbled across a couple of blogs — one by Dwight and the other by Creed.

Without getting into too much detail, I’ll tell you that Dwight’s most recent entry was titled, “The Curious Rise of Tentacle Sex in Manga,” while Creed’s entry was about flatulence (er, “seat orchestra”), rashes, and cakes.  Give Dwight credit because he opens up his blog with a warning not to read his blog at work, not because the subject matter was inappropriate for work (which it was), but because the blog had “nothing to do with your job, unless you are an anime scholar, sexual education expert, cultural examiner with a focus on bizarre sexual matters, or a marine biologist.”

What came to my mind when reading this (while at work, of course) wasn’t people reading blogs at work, but rather employees blogging about their jobs to the public.  As you are undoubtedly aware, this has become commonplace and an issue that us HR folks are dealing with quite often.  There’s even a word in the dictionary for being fired because of an Internet posting (being “dooced”).

While banning employees from blogging or posting about work on sites like Facebook and MySpace is unrealistic and might violate certain states’ laws, you still can address the issue short of that.  It is a good idea for companies to create policies that clearly define what is acceptable (say, discussing how great management is at the company) and not acceptable (say, company trade secrets . . . or Japanese cartoon pornography).  Of course, the boundaries are not that black and white in real HR life — but setting parameters is important to protect yourselves from the Dwights and Creeds within your organization!

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1 Other Blogs
08:28:16, 14/06/08

[...] That’s what she said continues to fill non-episode weeks of The Office with good stuff.  This week, we have sex, flatulence and blogging. [...]

2 Offended Reader
10:26:47, 19/06/08

If you are an HR professional, as you allege, then perhaps you should be terminated for posting this entry. I’m curious, do you post things like this on company time? Do you check this site on company time? I hope you are well aware that the company not only monitors such posts, but probably has multiple grounds for your termination, as well as possibly a lawsuit against you for theft of time. If anyone else from Mr. Foster’s company reads this, perhaps this issue should be brought up with management.

I’m particularly disturbed by your phrase “The Curious Rise of…” I’m sorry. I can’t continue that phrase. I wonder if I have an actionable case for my emotional distress. Any takers?

3 Troy Foster
12:48:24, 19/06/08

Offended Reader:

Thanks for your comment, and helping raise another point. Such entertaining postings (if I do say so myself) cannot create a claim for emotional distress or anything else for that matter. It truly takes much more. As an aside, thank goodness I’m a partner in the firm, as I would recommend terminating me for writing, reading, and posting this stuff. More tonight!

Troy Foster

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