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Punishing a worker for personal blog post

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in Employment Law,HR Management,Human Resources

Q. One of my staff showed me an Internet link to another employee’s personal blog, which included racial and offensive comments about our company and employees. Can we reprimand the employee for the racial slurs?

A. If the employee was blogging during work hours or on a company computer, you can discipline the employee. Even if the employee blogged while off-duty from a home computer, you may reprimand the employee for making racial slurs against the company and its employees (There is no specific Pennsylvania law that prohibits employers from disciplining at-will employees for what they write in blogs or elsewhere.)

If the blog is limited to employees and not open to the general public, you may be restricted in taking action against the communications under the National Labor Relations Act. Consider implementing a blogging policy that requires employees to abide by company policies on harassment, equal employment opportunity and confidentiality. 

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