Skip

Getting fired for blogging
August 6, 2004 7:52 PM   Subscribe

Another person gets fired for their blog. This is a strange story, the blog is here, and her former employer is here. According to the story, she was fired due to a complaint from a local, but it sounds like another factor was the blog outdoing the main site in Google searches. Of course it's only half the story, but this seems weirder than any previous occurrence.
posted by mathowie (36 comments total)

 
It's all so simple, if your employer doesn't tell you to blog, don't. At least don't while mentioning your employer.
posted by tommasz at 8:07 PM on August 6, 2004


But she used her blog as writing samples to get hired. Seems like they knew all along about it.

Maybe something major is missing from this story.
posted by mathowie at 8:09 PM on August 6, 2004


well, it's her employer's loss.

People are idiots.
posted by konolia at 8:21 PM on August 6, 2004


She used her former blog as samples of her writing. She didn't tell her new employers that she was planning on writing a blog about her new home and job, and also mentioning the name of her employer. And this is a very small community.

She should have done it anonymously, though in a small community it would be hard.

But this is a pretty clear case of conflict of interest (or something to that effect). She had a job working to promote tourism to the region. Then she publicly wrote about her thoughts on living in the region. How naive can you be not to realize that that's courting trouble.

I mean, damn, if I were an outsider who got a job promoting tourism to some sparsely populated region, completely independently of everything else I'd be wary of local politics and stepping on toes.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:27 PM on August 6, 2004


And on the entry page for the Nunavut Tourism site, do you notice that the picture of the little figure in Inuit dress next to the link for the English version is running, the one for the German translation is leaping and the one for the French translation is falling on its ass?

And Polar Penny is becoming Pacific Penny. Boy, even the WWE lets its performers keep their names.

I just like saying Nunavut.
Nunavut.

Nunavut, Nunavut, Nunavut.

Maybe something major is missing from my medications.
posted by wendell at 8:33 PM on August 6, 2004


Iqaluit's pretty small and isolated, maybe somebody had some kind of personal grudge?

BTW, as of today at least, Google searches for both Nunavut and Iqaluit don't even place her blog in the top 10.

I'd agree, though, that actually mentioning the name of your employer is probably a bad move, though in a town of 6,000, even mentioning when you arrived might be enough to identify you to locals.
posted by arto at 8:36 PM on August 6, 2004


[S]he had to let Cholmondeley go, just before the end of her six month probation period. Without warning, and with no chance to amend or take down the site, Cholmondeley was fired from Nunavut Tourism at the height of Nunavut's tourist season.

I thought the point of a probation period when starting a new job was that they can fire you for any darn thing they want, period, no warning of justification required. That makes the blogging issue a red herring.
posted by ilsa at 8:52 PM on August 6, 2004


i have a bit of work related experience with this region and it's politics, so i'm betting her replacement won't be an outsider; someone was pissed that a non native didn't get the job and the blog issue was, as ilsa says, a red herring.
posted by t r a c y at 8:57 PM on August 6, 2004


Paging "industry observer mathowie" - pithy sound bite wanted....
posted by troutfishing at 9:18 PM on August 6, 2004


Bloggers shouldn't mention their employers. I mean, sure, go ahead, but it'll only cause you trouble.
posted by bshort at 9:21 PM on August 6, 2004


Did I mention that I'm selling my writings to MSNBC.COM?
posted by wendell at 9:33 PM on August 6, 2004


This is just speculation, but I'm guessing a certain evil-looking chief administrative officer in purple turtleneck had something to do with the firing. It's all part of his dastardly urban renewal plan: First name all the streets, next number all the houses. The critics must be silenced.
posted by eatitlive at 9:44 PM on August 6, 2004


This is idiotic, someone didn't like this girl for whatever reason and decided to run her out of town by getting her fired. From stories I've heard from people who've lived up there and in other isolated communities, well, what ilsa said.

As long as you're not revealing internal company information to the public, I don't see why it's so 'obvious' that you can't tell someone where you work.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:48 PM on August 6, 2004


Am I the only one who keeps reading "Iqaluit" as "I lick it"?

Yeah, I thought so.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:31 PM on August 6, 2004


I thought Frobisher was a fictitious place from the Zork games.
posted by inksyndicate at 10:41 PM on August 6, 2004


if your company is an At-Will employer, like many are here in california, it doesn't matter if you blog or not about your workplace, you can be fired for any- or no reason.

therefore many employers choose not to tell their employees why theyre being terminated, which is what this chick's former employee should have done.

once you give reasons out when you dont have to, you open yourself up to ridicule and lawsuit.

canada doesn't have unfair termination laws?
posted by tsarfan at 10:41 PM on August 6, 2004


That's the danger in using your blog as a resume piece. I can't say I do that. Duh.

she had to let Cholmondeley go, just before the end of her six month probation period

Not to totally suck the man's dick or anything, but this is just one of those times that the probationary period is actually taken advantage of. The mechanism to *not* hire someone on permanently is very often there, but never comes in to play. It seems stupid to complain about an instance of exercising its priveleges without protesting the entire concept.

O is this just another "blogs really matter" post?
posted by scarabic at 11:19 PM on August 6, 2004


It seems stupid to complain about an instance of exercising its priveleges without protesting the entire concept.

I think we can accept the fact that letting her go was something he could do, and talk about whether or not is't something he should have done. In my mind it most certainly wasn't.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:18 AM on August 7, 2004


I suppose, but you're basically talking about how he should or shouldn't run his business, which is like jousting at windmills.
posted by scarabic at 12:29 AM on August 7, 2004


Well it's not a business, per se, he's just another bureaucrat in a northern government which I subsidize with my tax dollars, so I have a tiny stake in this particular windmill.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:41 AM on August 7, 2004


The site was mainly intended as a diary for her friends and family,

If that's so, then perhaps password protection would have been a good idea. I never have really gotten the concept of public diaries. But then, I still think of diaries as those little books with the locks on them.
posted by JanetLand at 4:44 AM on August 7, 2004


if your company is an At-Will employer

while my experience with mainstream employment is not that broad i have never heard of "at-will" employers in canada... when you leave a position of any sort the employer has to fill out separation papers, stating your earnings, how long you were employed, what was taken off in taxes, pension plan, and also why you were let go - it must be stated if it was a contract or temp position, if/why you were fired, if you chose to leave, etc. the reason this is done is because gov't employment insurance benefits are determined based on the circumstances of your termination.

canada doesn't have unfair termination laws?

yes absolutely, we do.

if penny doesn't like the reason stated on her separation papers she can easily file a complaint - the fact that she's already gainfully employed elsewhere is probably the reason why she's being so good natured about the whole thing... she doesn't need to file for unemployment benefits, she's moved on.

(spell check fun - who is ashley and what did he/she do to become the suggested spelling for asshole...? haha)
posted by t r a c y at 5:10 AM on August 7, 2004


Unfortunately for her now ex-employer, her blog was actually getting at least (she mentions three) a few tourists to come to Nunavut. Maybe more in the future - but not now. It could have been perfect viral marketing - personally I would never trust a tourism web-site, but I might consider going somewhere after reading an interesting blog on it.
posted by jb at 5:59 AM on August 7, 2004


She's cute, and she likes to go to random places in Canada. What's not to love?
posted by PrinceValium at 6:08 AM on August 7, 2004


There's always the chance that she was just rubbish at her job, she wound everyone up, and they were just looking for an excuse to fire her.

I don't think there's anything to see here. If she didn't have the blog, she'd have been fired because of some other trivial reason, and nobody on metafilter would be saying anything about it.
posted by seanyboy at 6:26 AM on August 7, 2004


i have a bit of work related experience with this region and it's politics, so i'm betting her replacement won't be an outsider; someone was pissed that a non native didn't get the job and the blog issue was, as ilsa says, a red herring.

Dingdingding! We have a winner. Dollars to dipsticks, tracy's nailed it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:53 AM on August 7, 2004


If you go here, you can download the Nunavut font (Nunacom), then you can click the link with Nunavut glyphs on the first page Matt linked to. Look at all the pretty squiggles in the Nunavut language.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:59 AM on August 7, 2004


My new favourite place


METAFILTER
-- How could I have not known of your existence? Looks like I was in some mental isolation as well as physical isolation up in Iqaluit. Great discussion on their site about me getting canned. Just follow this link Some people think it was an outrage, a few think I deserved to get canned ... but all round, it is a good chat about what people should be putting on their blogs. And from some comments made, it looks like I am not the only person to get the axe for having a big mouth.


Looks like she should get an account!
posted by loquax at 9:11 AM on August 7, 2004


A very good possibility is that some local business owner became angry at something she wrote - it wouldn't even have to be something negative; it could have been something positive about this person's chief competition - and complained. If the business owner were a substantial supporter of the tourism board (read $$), that's pretty much all it would take.
posted by taz at 10:31 AM on August 7, 2004


Yeah, I'm really thinking that a combo of taz's and tracy's ideas are the deal. That doesn't change the fact that her blog and job responsibilities overlapped in ways that were bound to cause problems.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:09 PM on August 7, 2004


Is it even possible to blog truly anonymously and still have your own domain name?
posted by bingo at 7:48 PM on August 7, 2004


Is it even possible to blog truly anonymously and still have your own domain name?

Well...

Of course, heaps of net.people know my real name -- I just tend not to use it online.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:20 PM on August 7, 2004


overlapped in ways that were bound to cause problems

There are one or two things that could have been contentious; for instance, the July entry features the local scrap metal dumping ground. But overall, I agree with the others about the possibilities. Small communities don't like incomers who rock the boat or do too well too prominently, and there are various tactics common with businesses anywhere. Years back I worked for a company that turned hostile, after no previous complaints, and pressured me into leaving shortly before my probationary period was up. My suspicion was that the plan all along was to fill the post with a succession of probationers who could be paid the low starter salary and wouldn't be kept long enough for full statutory employee rights to kick in.
posted by raygirvan at 8:45 PM on August 7, 2004


canada doesn't have unfair termination laws?

yes absolutely, we do.


However, labour laws are pretty much a provincial jurisdiction, right? So unless it's actually the Feds' responsibility on account of Nunavut being a territory rather than a province, wouldn't she essentially be complaining to the same people who fired her in the first place? Different government department, certainly, but I would assume her chances would still be slim.
posted by arto at 9:25 PM on August 7, 2004


You know what's funny, the thing that will come up first in google
searches now (or when it gets indexed anyway) will probably be this MeFi post.
posted by milovoo at 10:38 AM on August 8, 2004


That's the neat thing that employers should bear in mind: pollution of information space. If you unfairly piss off intelligent people who have a Web presence, your Web publicity will be permanently tainted.
posted by raygirvan at 5:43 PM on August 8, 2004


« Older hilarity ensues   |   X Prize and and Aces full of eights Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post