FIRED

Sweet Jessa got fired from one of her jobs. I’m not surprised that a conservative organization like The Academy of Natural Sciences let her go for blogging: they definitely don’t want their image corrupted by the only person who can actually make dino-bones appear interesting. I’m guessing it happened because a bored HR person googled the staff list. :boring:

Fine, she wrote too much and must face the consequence of losing her job. I doubt she cares too much about that. But then the Academy had to throw in some blackmail…

They told me that if I didn’t [delete my entire blog] that they would send my archived blog to the Aquarium where I also work, and if I ever listed them as a reference they would forward the content to any future employeers.

I think they are just trying to scare her. Google already caches everything and their threat of sharing the blog with a future employer sounds illegal to me. Now word on the street is they have backed off on the whole “take down your entire blog” thing, but Jessa needs to stay vigilant and confront them about the blackmail request and make sure it was just a “misunderstanding.”

I found the contact information of the HR person that probably fired her. I think it would be nice to let that woman know that there are a lot of people who find her behavior to be inappropriate. While it doesn’t look like it will get to that, I wouldn’t mind launching my next hater campaign against an HR person. My next job will be at a company that does not have an HR department.

Even though I don’t blog from or about work, I’m probably next. :shudder:

– Metafilter: This blog will self destruct in less than twelve hours
The story according to Jessa

25 thoughts on “FIRED

  1. Anonymous

    You know under NO circumstances can they do that. They are not allowed to contact a potential employeer, just to trash her.

    Tell them to take their job and shove it up their asses. What a bunch of hapless jerks. Get a life people.

    Tampa

  2. Anonymous

    Jessa needs to respond with the threat of a lawsuit so big that they won’t know what hit them. They absolutely cannot do that. Fire her, sure. Report her to her other job? Hell no! Sue the company and the individual HR person… how ya like me now, bitch? Thanks for paying my salary for the next 10 years.

  3. Lonnie Bruner

    I feel bad for her. She seemed like a really sweet girl, but my god, had she never heard about people being fired for blogging about work? And why was she using her real name? It’s now par for the course for potential employers to google your name.

    I have a friend who works at a national syndicated radio station and he fired his intern for bragging on her blog that she was ripping promo CDs that the station got. Do people not understand how the internet works?

    Anyway, I’m sure it’s not a career-ending move for her. In fact, it might *help* her. My friend was once fired from USGS, and a few weeks later there was a Doonesbury cartoon about him and then a Washington Post front page article. Now he’s mapping land mines in Cambodia and Thailand and living very well.

    Such is life …

  4. hedonistic

    Jessa has been Dooced!!!!!

    Your friends need to google “Dooced” or I think her website is still called http://www.dooce.com . . .? She was the ORIGINAL blogger fired for writing about her job. From that point on, to be fired for blogging was to be called “Dooced.”

    Digging through Dooce’s archives might bring Jessa some comfort.

    Jessa could sue the pants off her employer if it maliciously messes with her future job prospects in any way shape or form, unless she did something illegal or specifically against WRITTEN company policy, in which case Jessa is fair game. I say this as a former HR advisor to a Chief Engineer at a large organization . . . so I’d know . . . .

    If Jessa didn’t write anything on her blog that was illegal or against written company policy, she might have a case for a wrongful termination lawsuit. If she’s got the energy for it, she should seek counsel.

  5. O-face

    Yeah Dooce and like 3 million other individuals who all wanted some fame to catapult their dead end careers..*mine included*.
    1. HR can send out bad references and there is actually nothing you can do about it because you can’t prove it unless the potential employer tells you..Most companies make you sign a waiver allowing them access to your personal file and contact with former managers..Now are they legally supposed to do this, bash you behind your back????..noooo..can they???yesssss. But if that lady calls over to the other job and it is a completely seperate organization than Jessa can sue them silly, so I would encourage them to do it so that she can be filthy fcuking rich.
    2. The blog is still an expression of free speech and unless she had talked about corporate secrets..say a new technology that draws dinosaur dna from mosquitos preserved in amber..well then she is in trouble….But if she wants to make a big mess of it and screw her future over, I’d advise her to contact the ACLU..they love this stuff and they’ll do it for free. I think.

  6. Lonnie Bruner

    Jinxy,

    He *maps* landmines, he doesn’t *dig* for landmines. Mostly it entails him doing what he loves: running a cartography team in an air-conditioned office in Phenom Penh. Plus, he has a full time maid in a huge apartment down the street from the US Embassy. It’s very interesting work—at least, way more interesting than what I do …

  7. phi

    I always thought that if a potential company calls your former employer for a reference, the most they can say is you worked for them even if they have ill will towards you. Otherwise, if they shit talk you, they’ll be liable for slander and you can sue the pants off of them. Lawyers out there? Back me up?

  8. Jinxy

    Lonnie,

    I know. Just kidding.

    Not to completely blogjack, but I was in Cambodia and remember there’s like 40 land mines per Cambodian in that country.

    Lots of people walking around missing arms, legs, heads.

    “Night Of The Living Dead” type shit.

    Dolla goes a long way, though. Make ya holla.

    J.

  9. Phil

    Phi, I believe you are correct.

    I consulted with Playaz’ attorney Wayne, and Wayne states that while the employer likely did nothing wrong (not knowing Jessa’s situation…an employer can fire any non-contracted person for any reason at all), the HR cannot give any information to an inquiring employer other than her name and when she worked there, lest they risk a huge defamation suit for any misleading or incorrect information given otherwise (idiot HR’s excepted).

  10. Raincouver

    Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,
    It truly is a sad day when a gifted blogger is shut down. But to echo the comments in this blog, some precautions can be taken to minimize, if not eliminate, this risk. As DCB points out, “what was she doing using her real name anyway”? Never mind your employer. How about stalkers. Ever heard of those??? Secondly, whether you like it or not, look at it from the point of the employer: if I hire you to work at my firm, and you post information in regards to your work that may be deemed sensitive (never mind confidential), I would dismiss you immediately. All I need is one angry partner/customer to sue me over the trespass and my firm could go bankrupt, along with your 10 other co-workers. Why should they pay for your indiscretion? Now, I am not saying that this was the case with Jessa. On a prima facie basis, it sounds unlikely, and rather, the work of an indignified and judgmental people, worried not about lawsuits, but of “image”. Whatever a law-abiding worker wishes to do outside his or her place of employment is indeed his or her business. If he or she wishes to get as drunk as a Kennedy (no driving, please), or shoot some prefectly legal guns (without pulling a Cheney), that is his or her prerrogative. Lastly, even in my liberal country you can get fired for no reason. There is a severance, of course, but it is perfectly legal. Hopefully Jessa can assume a pseudonym (is DC Bachelorette taken?) and carry on with the day. Cheers, Raincouver (part-time DC)

  11. Pagan Marbury

    That sucks, but that’s why all my blogs are anonymous.

    I hope you don’t initiate a hater campaign against anyone- it could come back to bite Jessa in the ass.

  12. Anonymous

    Yes, if you put something online, you might as well post it all up around your cubicle. It is in the public domain, just like an arrest record. I used to know someone who had a blog, and I printed and saved each and every one of his posts that might be embarassing or even career-limiting. If he ever fucks with me, he will be very sorry. I could get him fired right now if I wanted to, because he has posted negative stuff about his employer. People are idiots. Blogs are so completely egotistical. “Look at me, I am funny and interesting and write so well!” Does Jessa really have no enemies in the whole world??? Naive…

  13. Anonymous

    Also, no attorney would take her case on contingency. Unless she’s got 5K for a retainer (which will be depleted promptly), and more for the trial and appeal when she most surely loses, she can forget about it. I like how non-lawyers think. “Just sue them! Ha ha!” Sorry guys, not that simple. She should have slipped on the museum floor while exiting her employment, she would have a MUCH better chance suing them then.

  14. nabeel

    she can try and sue, but she has to find a lawyer willing to take on the case. And since her blog is public and on the internet, it’ll be tough to prove that the employer ratted her out… and even if the prospective employer told her who ratted her out, there won’t be much of a case because 1) freedom of speech, 2) the way references work (why did she choose the people who fired her as a reference?). my sister is a lawyer, so I know a little bit of stuff.

    then again, some people love to sue everybody they could as if it’s a game…

  15. nabeel

    jessa could sue for libel or slander or whatever… but I don’t think she’ll win.

  16. Anonymous

    Also, regarding a defamation lawsuit, she would have to prove that she WAS NOT FIRED FOR BLOGGING AT WORK. Defamation involves a FALSE statement made about another that damages their reputation. Sorry, but if new employer calls Museum and says Jessa has listed you as a former employer. The Museum can say, yes, she worked here from ___ to ___ , and she was terminated for blogging (or blogging from work, or the contents of her blog and its reflection on the Museum, or excessive non-work-related internet use, etc.). Now tell me how she is going to make a case for suing museum for defamation?

    Jessa will not be able to list Museum as a former employer, period. Not a big deal, she will just have to account for whatever time she worked there by making up some lie like she was traveling or caring for a sick family member.

    Also, I don’t see why they can’t call her other employer. They’ll never do it, but it’s not like it’s illegal. Remember: defamation is a claim based on a FALSE statement someone makes about another. If nothing is false, then I would say there is no limit to Museum’s free speech.

    Blogs are free speech, and free speech is also being able to say “fuck you” to your boss. Even though you can’t get arrested for either, you can certainly get fired. Private employers have a lot of leeway in how they can run their businesses.

  17. RCR

    Sweet Jebus, you people are idiots. She has a claim for wrongful termination against the museum, though based on the apparent facts, it’s not a good claim.

    If the museum contacts the aquarium regarding this, she might have a viable claim for tortious interference of a business relation. But that completely depends on state law.

    This has nothing to do with libel, slander, defamation, or free speech.

  18. Anonymous

    RCR–what is the basis of the wrongful termination claim? Was she not fired for blogging? I believe she was an at-will employee.

    Tortious interference? Like I said, what lawyer is going to take that on contingency? In the alternative, does she have an extra 5K lying around for the retainer? Tortious interference is generally brought for significant business damages claims. She is about 2 years out of college and this other job is part-time, and we don’t even know if the other job would fire her as a result of the Museum’s efforts to “tortiously interfere.” What would her damages really amount to compared to her legal expenses?

    If you are a lawyer, then you’re not very good if you think she has a chance in hell.

  19. RCR

    Yes, I am a lawyer, and you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. Believe it or not, not everything in the world is black and white. You can still be wrongfully terminated even as at-will employee. For example, as a breach of fair dealing, i.e. firing one employee for blogging but not another, or if there is an established company policy. We don’t know all of the facts, and as I said, based on what we do know it does not look good.

    First of all genius, clearly she doesn’t have a claim until she’s fired. That goes without saying. If she is fired, and it’s because the museum contacted the aquarium with this information, there is a *viable* claim. Viable does not equal good. It means it’s worth a shot.

    As for legal representation, ever heard of a little thing called pro bono? There are hundreds of organizations dedicated helping those who’ve had their rights trampled upon.

  20. Raincouver (part time DC)

    RCR/Anonymous,
    Yes, there is pro-bono work. But can you imagine how many cases are submitted to organizations like the ACLU? Would YOU take a case for a friend, that would take up 30 to 40% of your billable hours, on a very weak case? If the lawyer in question is already rich, then perhaps that would be okay. The bottom line is that sometimes you just have to cut your losses. No, it doesn’t mean that you are going to simply roll over and play dead, but do pick your battles. A 5k investment for a new graduate may be rather onerous, but a necessary evil if things deteriorate further. Luckily, it sounds like Jessa will be all right, as the employer backed down from their initial (in my humble opinion, extreme) position. Long live Free Speech!

  21. Anonymous

    Unfortunately, I’m not surprised. She worked for a conservative, academically driven organization.I admire her spunk and wit but I always thought it odd that her blog contained so much personal and suggestive stuff. I too enjoy a strong cocktail and appreciate quirky edginess but I would be mortified for my boss to see pictures of me drunk in various stages of undress. I think she also posted a bit about cheating on her fiancee which I believe she deleted. Personally, I think blogs are dangerous. You just never know who might be lurking, reading and printing out excerpts in order to sabotage.

  22. carafate

    As for legal representation, ever heard of a little thing called pro bono? There are hundreds of organizations dedicated helping those who’ve had their rights trampled upon.

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