Employee blogs are an increasing concern for UK businesses and could have legal ramifications, a law firm has warned.
Nick Poole, partner at law firm Latimer Hinks, has urged employers to review their policies to cover internet blogging, following a recent decision by the Paris employment tribunal, which could impact on the UK legal system.
Catherine Sanderson, an employee at accountancy firm Dixon Wilson, was dismissed after her Paris-based employer objected to her blog. The tribunal later awarded £30,000 for unfair dismissal, citing no ‘real and serious causes’.
Sanderson detailed thoughts about her personal and professional life on an internet diary, while remaining anonymous and never once mentioning the name of her employer.
Sanderson claimed she was dismissed because her blog ‘risked bringing the company into disrepute’. She was also accused of diary writing during office hours.
Poole said: “More and more organisations are hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons following employee blogs, which can be accessed by anyone. To help limit the damage, employers should ensure their e-mail and internet ‘acceptable use’ policy covers using company time to access personal blogs.”
He cautioned employer boundaries to regulate employees after working hours. “Issues become less clear when the actions take place out of working hours,” Poole concluded.