The soul of discretion?

I’m reading a new (to me) blog written by a person who works in a supermarket.

The writer chooses not to name either location or employer for fear of retribution and/or being on the receiving end of charges such as ‘bringing her employer in to disrepute’.

Which asks the question…

If this blogger is telling the truth, are they really guilty of bringing anyone in to disrepute?

Another question…

If that’s the case, is her employer (and any other organisation that chooses to use this heavy-handed defence) guilty of trying to stifle the truth?

The most celebrated case of an employer using the ‘disrepute’ argument to get shot of an anonymous blogger who was ‘discovered’ by her employer was Petite Anglaise who (up until that point) had written anonymously of her life, loves and work-times.

It’s worth noting that in the subsequent employment tribunal that adjudged Petite’s case the employer lost heavily because – it was decided – telling the truth can’t be disreputable; the disrepute lay where it was committed.

On the issue of an employer’s staff who are prone to blogging, there are a number of points that have to be widely accepted as fact:
1. staff will blog – whether they have something good to say or something bad
2. even if staff don’t have access to the internet at work (e.g. they work in the retail industry), they will blog from home

So wouldn’t it be better if employers became grown up and sensible about this aspect of the provision of information?

Surely an enlightened employer would provide staff with a workplace blog?

A progressive employer would surely give staff a public place where they could write under their own name, a place where staff could relate things in their world?

It could also be a place where an employer could read and learn and correct management and/or operational faults?

Wouldn’t that be great?

To use the internet as a means of receiving feedback from valued members of staff.

Unless, of course, management don’t value their staff and don’t want to hear from them?

Or don’t want to know what their employees think about them; don’t want to know how poor their management/operational practices are?

B.

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3 Responses to The soul of discretion?

  1. Ginny says:

    “Working At Food Place”??

  2. sooz says:

    But wouldn’t it be a ‘stifled’ blog by the very nature of it having lost it’s anonymity Bren?
    Knowing that employers colleagues were reading what you really thought about the place would taint the blog with compliance and self-censorship for fear of consequences surely?

  3. Brennig says:

    Ginny: yes. I think Andrew is in need of psychiatric help (as well as being in the wrong job!) but his rants against his colleagues are hilarious.

    Sooz: Well yes, and no… lol! My hypothesis is that workplace-sponsored blogs would still ‘tell it like it is’ but in a more polite, less ranty way. Every undergrad at Warwick University can have a Uni-sponsored blog; they’re largely self-policing and because it’s all open and above board, the correspondents are polite in their criticisms of people/places etc. I believe that workplace-sponsored blogs would fall in to the same pattern. Oracle give their members of staff a blog – it’s a good example from one of the best employers in the world. But hey, just my thoughts.
    🙂