Jonas and Shelly have taken exception to the somewhat inflammatory headline "fired for blogging" in a previous post. To be honest, I stole the headline from Loic without thinking and I probably should have said "blogger suspended without pay" or something like that.

I've scattered comments around about my response to their responses, but I'll consolidate some of points here:

Accusation - Bloggers are attributing everything to blogging and being typically self-important. It wasn't about blogging, she broke company rules by posting the photos.

Response - The company rule was about using uniforms in photos. She says in the BBC interview that others had done so without being reprimanded. She did have a blog and the picture "outed" her identity and that of her employer. The fact that the blog was an anonymous semi-fictional account of a flight attendant until the photo probably didn't help. I would assume that blogging had something to do with it and the rule about the pictures was the technical reason. Also, blogs make it much easier to "post your picture on the Internet" and easier for people to find them. Therefore, I don't think it's silly to talk about blogging. More importantly, it's a good wake-up call for companies to be clear about blogging policy since more and more people are doing it.

Accusation - She broke a company rule. What's wrong with her being reprimanded for it?

Response - Companies have lots of rules that are broken every day. Companies need to think of what is in the best interest of the company and for their stakeholders. If a company does something that looks unfair or produces bad publicity, it's stupid whether it's a rule or not. It reminds me a bit about people who talk about "breaking copyright law". It's not like a speeding ticket. You don't "break copyright law". People use copyright law to go after people who are hurting their business. I think Delta should think about whether going after people who post pictures of themselves in uniform hurts their business or not and whether shutting these people down hurts them more.

UPDATE: She was fired. From the comments:

Queen of Sky @ October 31, 2004 10:41 AM

Actually I WAS fired yesterday, so Loic was correct.

The only reason given for my dismissal was "inappropriate pictures in uniform on the Web."

I have combed through Delta's HR manuals and found no rule against this.

The only rule is that they can fire you for anything they deem "inappropriate" behavior. Sounds rather arbitrary to me.

-Q of S

7 Comments

Nice site! The editors at the ZZ News Portal occasionally scan the web manually for eclectic content and we came across your weblog today. We would like to invite you to add your site's url to our OpenRing as your material appears interesting and aligned with our readership. If you are interested you can find further information at ZardozZ OpenWeb and at the ZZ OpenRing . Hope you'll join us... I feel the same way about the flight attendent at Delta by the way. We had the option to fly Delta PHL to SFO next week. Guess what... intentially opted for United instead. Poor marketing on Delta's part in our opinion ! The photo was hardly explicit ! We posted a similar article on our site when the BBC article hit the wires... GL ZZB

Hey Joi, sorry about this, I'll be more careful on how I post next time too...

Operationally, I want to know about four things:

  • Consistency. Was the airline singling out this employee over other employees who blog? How consistently does the airline prosecute other web sites that might infringe on trademarks, copyrights, and other IP?

  • Proportionality. Was there warning or other, lesser, forms of reprimand available?
  • IP. Was the information shared in her blog considered proprietary or confidential? No.
  • Safety. Was the information a breach of flight or passenger safety or security rules? Are cameras allowed on airplanes these days? Who knows.

There's a bigger thing going on.

Look at this in the context of labor-management tension. What kind of surveillance had to be going on to detect this and bring this to the attention of management? What message was management sending to the unions?

The airline is chilling communication with its "personnel action." This is resistance to the trend of companies to be porous, with social networks, and information, spanning the company firewall. Think Zuboff's "The Support Economy" and Malone's "Future of Work". You can fight the trend, make it your own, hedge, or ignore it.

This clumsy action is the bear noticing a new circumstance, and reacting reflexively. We'll see how it learns.

Oh, yeah: Don't Blog.

"I came, I blogged, I left."


"I may return."


- to butcher two old sayings, which we all know don't count for squat these days...


Gimme a break. (I'm assuming the picture posted below this blog is the picture in question. If not, then I'd like clarification and the opportunity to change this reply, assuming it doesn't get censored the way you've done in the past, Joi Ito.)


"...your material appears interesting and aligned with our readership."


And there's the ticket.


Sheesh, you don't suppose a blogger or the head of a company that produces blogging software would be deluded on this or any respect, right?


I took one look at the picture, and saw an image which reflects the meme that ALL AIRLINES STEWARDESSES are an easy lay.



You get something different...???


If so, why?


Again, look at the picture... Now...


:


Not something (as a "women's-liberated ACTUALLY LIBERATED male" who retains a modicum of common sense, somehow) I particularly care for.


Show me a REAL MAN or a REAL WOMEN (and to make it easy, subset it to non-bloggers) who sees this different, if you can.


If I knew Delta thought this crap is a GOOD IDEA..


..and that would be implied by ALLOWING THIS BIMBO-CRAP to have the Delta logo *AND/*OR ANYTHING associated with ANY airline....


..well, I can't afford to fly much of anyplace, anyhoo.. so I won't make an idle threat.


:


Btw, The Teleconferncing Generation started before 9-11 so the trends will dictate, regardless.


So how does this get by you guys and token gals?


"...your material appears interesting and aligned with our readership."


And the other frequently false meme that "ANY PUBLICITY IS GOOD PUBLICITY". "ANY" of ANYthing not ALWAYS being ANY given thus-and-so, afaik.

























Actually I WAS fired yesterday, so Loic was correct.

The only reason given for my dismissal was "inappropriate pictures in uniform on the Web."

I have combed through Delta's HR manuals and found no rule against this.

The only rule is that they can fire you for anything they deem "inappropriate" behavior. Sounds rather arbitrary to me.

-Q of S

It is the first time I am so sad to be right, I wish I would have stayed wrong, Ellen.

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