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Blogging Is A Legally Protected Activity, No Really

I just received an e-mail from Rick Bales, a law professor up in Chicago who often speaks on panels about blogging.  He just posted an entry after reading an article about how employee blogging, when done right, is probably protected under the NRLA (National Labor Relations Act).

His post on the issue is here.  The Article he is talking about is available for those with a Westlaw subscription, and it is  Marc Cote, Comment, Getting Dooced: Employee Blogs and Employer Blogging Policies Under the National Labor Relations Act, 82 Wash. L. Rev. 121 (2007). 

Rick says that employee blogging, when it discusses workplace issues like wages, hours, and conditions, is fair play, and legally protected, the same as speech about these topics.  I had heard from George Lenard one time that it is not legal to prevent employees from discussing their salaries, precisely because of NLRA, which covers all workers, not just the unions.  This doesn't cover proprietary information (and apparently, salary information is not proprietary, no matter what your HR department says), so don't go posting tech specs to the internet. 

But if you are wondering about your legal position on blogging, or better yet, if you are a company considering an employee blogging policy, definitely read the rest of Rick's posting.  For those of you who like to start controversy, keep this in mind.  Just because it isn't legal, doesn't mean that throwing this into your boss's face is a smart thing to do.  You can get fired for lots of things, and fighting a lawsuit in court won't pay your bills.

If, however, you have a wild streak in you, or perhaps if you have been dooced (fired for blogging), it's something your lawyer ought to be thinking about.  And if you're a company, let me stress this again - why haven't you talked to a a lawyer about your employee blogging policies?

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