Recently, an Alabama reporter who is also a blogger was terminated purportedly because her employer disagreed with her blog post. In that post, she mentioned a variety of things related to her job, including how she has been on the air without wearing a bra and how nobody ever noticed.
In her interview on the Today Show this morning, she said that she thought her post was "snarky and clever" and never imagined that she would get fired for it. And yet, that is what happened. What actually happened, is that she was told to take it down, which she did. However, she thought better of it and re-posted it. The re-posting led to her termination.
As a working mom who's a blogger the story really resonated with me. It implicates things that every blogger confronts. How much sharing is oversharing? Can/should an employer be able to censor a blogger's posts? Did her blog post itself compromise her ability to do he job effectively?
As a former employment lawyer, I understand that most employment is "at-will", which means that an employer can fire you for a good reason, a bad reason or no reason at all, provided that the reason is not unlawful. In this case, it appears that the reporter was fired for her behavior--for ignoring her employer's directive to take the post down. Still, I'm wondering about the "morality" of the firing.
Some states, like North Carolina, have laws that protect employees who engage in "lawful activity" in their spare time. The laws were generally designed to protect smokers. However, they have been applied more broadly. I tend to agree with those laws. And I can only assume that Alabama doesn't have a law like that.
In any event, the law is fraught with opportunities for different opinions, that's why we need lawyers.
Seeking Opinions of my Readers
What do you think? Should people be fired for what they do in their spare time? Was the station attempting to censor the reporter or merely protect its image?