Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

How To Lose Your Job, Thanks To The Internet

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the it's-easy-if-you-know-how dept.

The Internet 654

The New York Times has up an article discussing the trend of employers tracking the 'free time' activities of their employees via their web presence. "When they do go off the clock and off the corporate network, how they spend their private time should be of no concern to their employer, even if the Internet, by its nature, makes some off-the-job activities more visible to more people than was previously possible. In the absence of strong protections for employees, poorly chosen words or even a single photograph posted online in one's off-hours can have career-altering consequences." The piece likens this activity to the 'Sociological Department' that the Ford Company ran to monitor the home lives of their workers. Overstatement, or the corp as Big Brother?

cancel ×

654 comments

Hmmm.... (5, Funny)

andy666 (666062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861784)

Yeah this internet thing might end up having some impact on the world....

Not much is new here. (5, Insightful)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861864)

Fascism is older than the internet. Witch hunts are older than that. What you see is a bunch of companies that think they are so powerful that they can tell you to do and think as they say, 24/7. With government granted franchises, rubber stamped consolidation and bad joke anti-trust enforcement big company perception is not that far from reality. Shutting down online expression is both an exercise and enhancer of corporate power, just as book burning and other forms of censorship have been.

If your company is like this, do yourself a favor and quit.

Re:Not much is new here. (4, Insightful)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862058)

I can see the tough spot for the company, though. If they can get info on their employees, so can their competitors, their customers, the media, disgruntled folks with a bone to pick... Although it might not right, and it might not be overtly expressed, a company could conceivably lose work or customers due to something widely seen as objectionable. An employer taking the high road might be stuck taking the battering of their association with drunkards, preverts, druggies, by a public who has much less responsibility to be fair and upstanding.

I'm not saying that the companies are justified in disciplining workers for off-job activities, but that it's a much stickier situation than just "corporate fascist bastards bringin' me down".

Re:Not much is new here. (5, Interesting)

Snooby2008 (1210256) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862100)

I think the main problem is that we can't really separate personal opinions from business ones.

Freedom of speech is a nice thing, but in real word people don't say to employers what they think if it means they lose their jobs. Goverment mostly protects citizens being harassed by goverment itself, but it does very little if private citizen limits other persons freedom of speech or goverments agencies as employer do it.

Or lets phrase that again. Yes, anyone can say anything and freedom of speech is almost without limits. But no law guarantees using that right won't have consequences like losing your job or business. On private or public sector.

And thats the fundamental problem of political rights. If they don't protect people who exercise them economically too, they are just laws that state 'you can do this or that - if you can afford it'.

In real world it means that if you can't afford it, you have to give away your rights. Even those protected in name by constitutions. So actually, freedom of speech for example, knows bounds.

Fundamentals question is then, shouldn't political rights be also economical rights?
Shouldn't they be if they can't be separated in real world?

What are those rights that can't be taken away, but you can't afford to exercise? They are no rights at all far as I can tell.

Re:Not much is new here. (4, Insightful)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862220)

In order to effectively restrict economic retaliation against free speech, you would have to remove most all freedom from commerce (Yes, you must buy the soup made by Nazi-commie Satanist Pedophiles, because they have the freedom to be that way.), and that ends up stifling a whole lot more freedom of a whole lot more people. A large part of the concept of free speech is that better ideas will rise to the top. Although the currents they rise (or sink) on are not centrally, governmentally controlled-- they are free from absolute censorship-- certain forces-- economic and social-- still do (and should) exist to raise and lower ideas, in order to raise the ideas that are worthy, and to deflate the ones that are crackpot.

Re:Not much is new here. (1, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862158)

Do you think it is unreasonable for a company to select the upper levels of management on how they really behave not on how they want you think they behave?

You can argue all you want over if a company should be able to discriminate in certain jobs over political beliefs, religious or ideological beliefs, or conduct considered unethical and even immoral. But the actions of some high level employees in their personal lives directly reflect the company's image. Imagine if Apple's top level managers supported terrorists, it would be no time before people started conflating their employment in those positions as an official stance of the company. It should be apple's right to control this to some extent. And that isn't even getting into the implications of fascism you made.

Here is a better example, politicians lives are open and scrutinized by the public. Why? because we want to know who we are hiring to make decisions on our behalf. A senator who supports homosexual relations with under aged teens or preteens wouldn't stand for a minute in a serious election. I'm not sure there is much of a difference at MS or IBM or the Steel plant down the road. The owners, the company, and other top level executive should know or have the ability to know without invading privacy, exactly what type of person they have making decisions in their company. Certainly, if you have a high level exec on the Internet ranting about capitalist pigs and how corporations are ruining everything, and you notice that your company hasn't turned a profit since they gave him a promotion and he became in charge of key decisions related to that fact, they should have a right to fire him. Similarly, if the company isn't turning a profit and they find that you are praising the competition and have purchased their stock, he should be let go too.

It isn't a matter of everything you do off the clock effecting your performance on the clock. It is about the image your off the clock actions press into the companies image and your performance potential as reflected by your admitted preferences.

Blah Blah (-1, Troll)

Daltin (1153533) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861788)

Blah Blah Capitalism, blah blah evil corporations, blah blah series of tubes blah yakity yak is bad.

You can still make an effort (4, Informative)

zantolak (701554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861790)

To keep your real name offline to the best of your ability. I see no reason for people online to know my real name, or tie it to my internet activities.

Re:You can still make an effort (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21861874)

Ed Zantolak! Is that you!!! Hey, I got some top notch colombian shit for new years. I know you have a nose like a vacuum cleaner, so come on over. There's gonna be some male strippers too... remember that time in San Francisco? AIDS ruined everything man.

Re:You can still make an effort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21862022)

Godammit, Ed! You told me you were done with guys. I'm divorcing you!!!

Re:You can still make an effort (0, Redundant)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862242)

Oh, you're clever. Come Monday morning, three or four people named Ed Zantolak are going to be meeting Security at the door.

Re:You can still make an effort (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21861886)

You mean your name isn't really zantolak? I feel so dirty...

Re:You can still make an effort (1)

SacredByte (1122105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861928)

I do. Even still, when I google my name (first & last in quotes) I still get three results. Two of them are from the gaming clan of which I am a member, and the other is the amateur radio club of which I am also a member.

The simplest way to obfuscate your identity online is to eigther give an entirely fake name, or a partially fake name. For example, use your middle name as your first name, and your mother's maiden name as your last (which works espially well if they're both fairly common names). For me, using this technique, If put in quotes and google'd nets over 10,000 results (as opposed to three with my true first & last name)

Re:You can still make an effort (1)

krazytekn0 (1069802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862096)

or you can just have a name like Lucas McCain. Then after people google you they'll wonder if that's even your real name!

Re:You can still make an effort (1)

FutureDomain (1073116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862182)

Even still, when I google my name (first & last in quotes) I still get three results.

That's funny, when I search for "Sacred Byte", I get twelve responses, and four of them are in another language. Is your gaming clan from Korea, Japan, or Russia?

Re:You can still make an effort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21861930)

Good idea, Zach Antolak.

HI ZACH! ZANTOLAK Zach Antolak (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21862024)

ZANTOLAK, email zantolak@comcast.net , is an alias of Zach Antolak.

To repeat, for future employers,

Zach Antolak (zantolak@comcast.net) uses the alias ZANTOLAK
Zach Antolak (zantolak@comcast.net) uses the alias ZANTOLAK
Zach Antolak (zantolak@comcast.net) uses the alias ZANTOLAK
Zach Antolak (zantolak@comcast.net) uses the alias ZANTOLAK
Zach Antolak (zantolak@comcast.net) uses the alias ZANTOLAK

Lol now google and spambots will read this, thanks to Ebaumsworld

 

Re:You can still make an effort (3, Funny)

LordHuggington (1210226) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862244)

Yes, it's just common sense. Even Homer Simpson knows to call himself Chunky Lover when online, and not use his real name. It's surprising, and disconcerting, how few people don't think to ensure their anonymity online.

Re:You can still make an effort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21862264)

I hope your name isn't Zach Antolak, because if so you haven't done shit to hide it.

Re:You can still make an effort (4, Interesting)

badasscat (563442) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862278)

To keep your real name offline to the best of your ability. I see no reason for people online to know my real name, or tie it to my internet activities.

I see reasons both for and against. On the one hand, yes, you have these privacy concerns that are totally valid. On the other, here you have the internet, which is *designed* to connect people. In the early days, *everybody* used their real name - heck, I still belong to one forum that was probably among the first on the web where I still use my real name (few other people there do).

The great thing about the internet is that people *can* find you. I've been contacted by long lost friends and family that I never thought I'd speak to again, and I've got a big network of people that I talk to online now (and in real life) that I'd never have found offline. This is one of the big attractions of the net; in fact, I consider the internet pretty pointless otherwise. Is the internet nothing more than a bunch of companies hawking products, low-quality amateur scat porn and anonymous strangers yammering at each other? That's even worse than real life. Why would anyone want that?

But I also don't see this as just an evil plot by the corporations. A person's outside behavior has *always* been fair game in terms of employment... the only difference is the internet makes it easier to track. Let's say a company hires an accountant, who at some point during his term of employment gets into a bar fight and gets arrested. He comes in to work the next day bruised and bloody, and the story makes the local newspaper. What do you think is going to happen? Most likely, he's going to get fired. It doesn't matter that he did it on his own time; companies want well-adjusted, positive people working for them, and in an "at will" system of employment, "job security" has always been an illusion. You have job security provided you play the game right, and that means at work and at home. It's always been that way.

People act like asses on the internet because they think they can get away with it. But they can no more get away with it on the net than that accountant could get away with being in a real-life bar fight that makes the local papers. An ass is an ass, and no company wants to employ somebody like that.

Of course, you can argue about moral standards, but if your company doesn't share your own moral standards, then maybe you shouldn't be working there to begin with.

As for me, I don't make any particular effort to hide my full real name but I don't freely give it out either. In a Google search of my name, I don't come up at all. Even still, I try not to do anything that's going to make me look stupid online, regardless of who's going to see it. I think that's probably good advice for anybody.

Re:You can still make an effort (1)

zantolak (701554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862330)

Is that you, Jeff W------- of Los Angeles? If so, you're lucky to have such a common name and live in a densely populated area.

Always use an alias. (4, Interesting)

Matt867 (1184557) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861810)

You should simply use an alias and never reveal that alias to an employer. I realize that it's a good opportunity to increase your chances of employment by allowing an employer to take a look at your online work but, its simply absolutely none of their business. If you are really desperate for the extra bang on your resume I suggest immediately afterwards you change to a different alias and notify all of your friends that you need to change in order to protect your anonymity from your employer (Via private means of course).

Re:Always use an alias. (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861882)

Also if you already have accounts online. Delete any information on there or replace it with cleaner material. Do not just delete the "account" cause the information might still be in the server(backups,etc) and who knows who can see whats on that. Just remove material or rewrite so when the backups occur or the material is cached again its changed to something else.

Re:Always use an alias. (4, Interesting)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861890)

Here is a problem with that. I am a comedian. A lot of my work is offensive, yet I do not show my comedy work to anyone at my paying job. I need me to be on what I do to eventually get paying comedy work. I shield what I can, but it is impossible for me to completely hide myself.

Should I pay for chasing my dreams?

Re:Always use an alias. (2, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861924)

Should I pay for chasing my dreams?

No, but you should find an employer that's willing to let you chase your dream without having to hide it from them. Next time you change jobs, I'd be up front about being a comedian, and about some of your work being offensive, and let them know that it won't come into your work life. If they don't hire you, keep trying till you find someone that will. You may lose some good opportunities, but at least you won't live in fear of losing your job.

Re:Always use an alias. (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862004)

The real issue is that the job has no right to can me if I do nothing wrong at work.

I am looking for work now. I cannot afford to tell them upfront unless it is useful to my job. They will know after they hire me. Jobs are not that easy to come by.

Re:Always use an alias. (1)

incer (1071224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862064)

Hmm.. Yeah, maybe in a perfect world that would be ideal. In this one it isn't like that... Bringing up something like that at an interview might ruin the chances of getting the job.
When I went to evening school, some of the people there had to hide that they were going there from their employers, in order to keep the jobs... You know, their bosses didn't want them to take part in activities which might have left them fatigued, resulting in a bad performance on the workplace. And also they didn't want their employees to suddenly request a raise in light of a higher instruction degree.

Re:Always use an alias. (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862274)

In the long run, though, would you rather (still) be working long-term for an employer who can't stand to hire a part-time stand-up comedian who might be (gasp!) raunchy? Save the stress and let the self-selecting process run its course.

Re:Always use an alias. (3, Interesting)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862168)

Should I pay for chasing my dreams?

No, but you should find an employer that's willing to let you chase your dream without having to hide it from them. Next time you change jobs, I'd be up front about being a comedian, and about some of your work being offensive, and let them know that it won't come into your work life. If they don't hire you, keep trying till you find someone that will. You may lose some good opportunities, but at least you won't live in fear of losing your job.
I've interviewed way too many people in the last year. If someone shows up with "other interests" listed as "professional comedian" on their resume, hell yeah, I'd want to talk to them. And I don't care, even a little, if they work "blue" or not at that job. We're all professionals, and I'd rather work with someone who I can have an interesting conversation with than some guy who is pure work with no outside interests. If a prospective employer passes you by because of something like this, they, are doing YOU, the favor.

I have a profile on linkedin.com which includes a highly fictional Bio (I invented rope and television, and taught myself how to hover, for instance). Since I added that 2 or 3 months ago, I've had more direct emails from linkedin members asking me if I'm looking for work than I had in several years previously. Some people don't value a sense of humor but, for me, it's important to know that the people I hire not only can do the job, but they're someone I want to hang out with 40-50 hours a week.

Re:Always use an alias. (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862230)

No chance you're looking for people in New York City is there? ^_^

Re:Always use an alias. (1)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862302)

No chance you're looking for people in New York City is there? ^_^
Afraid not, sorry. Milwaukee area, strong Unix admins with Veritas Cluster and Solaris 10 for a very very very very big company whose name has two letters and rhymes with "GE". We've got tons of fun toys to play with but the manager is pretty set on only hiring people we can drop in pretty easily. Amazing what the headhunters send in, and amazing what people lie about on their resumes just to waste my time in an interview. (Free hint: If you don't have one of the "required" skills, please just don't. Don't.) Somehow though, headhunters see "Solaris" on a resume and pretend to themselves that their random guy off the street, without the requirements, will suddenly stun us into just hiring them or something. Had one guy, great guy, nice presentation, well spoken, good judgement, and decades of experience, but no recent Solaris experience. I would love to hire and train him if I had time to do the training but, I don't. If I did I wouldn't need to hire more people. Great guy, I'd love to hire him, but just not quite right skillset. But anyway. If you're not on linkedin.com, set up an account there, and make your profile be your resume. Mention "job seeker" as your current title, and participate in the question/answer forums. Can't hurt.

Should I pay for chasing my dreams? (3, Funny)

Sparky McGruff (747313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861996)

Corporate policy says, Yes, absolutely, you should (and will) pay for chasing your dreams. You must immediately file a "Notice of pursuance of dreams" form with HR, and, of course, update your Conflict of Interest forms. This matter will obviously be discussed at your next performance review, which has now been rescheduled for January 11 at 9:45.

Please bring written copies of all jokes performed privately or publicly since the beginning of your employment at this firm, and a listing of dates of any public and/or private performances, including but not limited to performances at comedy clubs, television shows, and standing around in bars telling jokes to your buddies. Thank you very much for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely, HR Department, Megacorp

Re:Should I pay for chasing my dreams? (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862288)

"I was surprised to hear that the top bosses also found the company to be one big, sick joke. Unfortunately, now they're suing me under the noncompete clause."

Re:Always use an alias. (0, Troll)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862010)

Yes, you should pay for chasing year dreams. You'll be amazed what you can get when you're willing to pay. Now, I support comedy, and hey, if you're in my area, I've got a comedian who organizes monthly shows, he's always looking and I'd be happy to introduce you.

But if you were working for me (ehem, if you are working for me) and you're avoiding my work to go and do something else, then yeah I've a right to know. And if you're acting as my salesman, and one of my clients is offended by you enough to drop me as a supplier, then yeah I'll be upset with you.

Now, in both of those cases, I'm a perfectly understanding employer, I not only support comedy, but I'm with you when you say that it's supposed to be offensive and that's a part of the entertainment, and my client shouldn't care. But if one does, I will have to do everything I can to appease them. And so it'll be easier for me if I know what you do, the fact that you do it, and am ready to appease any offended clients.

You will undoubtedly find employers who will refuse to work with you for such reasons. And I support their having to do so. Of course, I also support your going out on your own, throwing everything you have at your comedy, and finding out if it's worth doing full-time. Succeed and do it, fail and ditch it. If it's just your hobby, well, you need ot find an employer willing to take whatever shit comes from the clients on your behalf.

Re:Always use an alias. (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862142)

You will undoubtedly find employers who will refuse to work with you for such reasons. And I support their having to do so. Of course, I also support your going out on your own, throwing everything you have at your comedy, and finding out if it's worth doing full-time.

If you know someone who organizes a comedy show, then you know it isn't as easy as just "doing it full-time." I've been plugging away for a year and a half, and I'm about to get my first paid gig.

But let me respond with the italicized text, and throw a monkey wrench in your argument.

I am also transgendered. If a client finds about about that and gets upset, would you have any business firing me? It is something that offends some people... but it doesn't affect my competence, and even more so than my comedy is something about myself I cannot change.

How about something more mundane? What if I protest the war in Iraq on a day off, and that offends a client?

All possibilities for me. People can be offended by anything you do outside of work. Do you as an employer have a right to punish me for any of that? I would say no, because I show up to work on time and do what is asked of me on the job. People should have a right to be themselves outside work.

Re:Always use an alias. (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862232)

You don't have a right to know shit about what an employee does in their off hours. Period.

Re:Always use an alias. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862270)

Actually, if it is effecting his job, then yes they do. I don't think they deserve to invade your privacy but it isn't an invasion if you put it out there for everyone to know on the Internet. That might be a small difference but it is one big enough to change the scene.

Re:Always use an alias. (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862314)

The key there is the "if". And if it does, you'll already know based on the performance requirements of that job.

Re:Always use an alias. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862240)

You shouldn't be using your real name in show business anyways. Most all of the famous actors use fake names, or the used to. You need a stage name and the idea of "John Comedian" being "John I want a job" should never come up until after your famous.

The same comes from on line aliases. I use three. One when I'm working on something, one when I'm dicking around like on slashdot and one for family. I have never had to use on line related work in a resume but if I did, it wouldn't be connected to my sometimes infuriating and controversal comments in forums. I have more but they are basically troll accounts.

Maybe you should pay for chasing your dreams and get a DBA and use a stage name to shied yourself from yourself. It doesn't costs much, and if you structure it right, you can even file a separate tax return for your comedian side of life. And then if it comes up at a job, you would have demonstrated your ability to separate the two and it shouldn't be a problem.

Why Bother? (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861940)

I wouldn't want to work anywhere that they're worried about my after-hours activities.

In my current job we had a client who said that anyone who came on their job site needed to be able to pass a drug test. It was a big job, months of work, and the techs were told that they could take the drug test and be guaranteed work in a single location, or not take it and bounce around between jobs. We occasionally work at military installations, and again certain techs will work there and others won't.

My employer knows that I participate in online forums and that I hold some non-standard political beliefs and they really don't care as long as it doesn't affect my work. If they wanted to restrict my activities I'd find another job.

I'm using my alias right now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21862086)

I always post as ac. If I can't post ac, then I don't post.

I am approaching retirement and it isn't likely that I will ever have to explain a twenty year old post on a job interview ... Even so, I have always behaved as though my online activities could be traced. Even as ac, I assume that if 'they' cared deeply enough they could trace me.

It isn't easy to avoid posting as yourself. My daughter's friends arrange their social activities on facebook. If she wasn't willing to go on facebook as herself, she wouldn't have a social life. That could be a problem for her down the road. We recently had the case of someone whose buddy posted an embarassing picture of him and it linked from his own facebook page. It was right there in his employer's face when he went looking on facebook.

Maybe there should be a law that personal information on the internet has to 'evaporate' after a fixed amount of time. No fifty year old should have to explain or defend the opinions he expressed thirty years previously. It is almost guaranteed that he doesn't believe them anymore anyway.

Whoa (5, Funny)

chanrobi (944359) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861826)

So posting those drunken, pot smoking pics of myself on a publicly viewable online source (e.x facebook) might not be a good idea? That's news to me.

Re:Whoa (5, Insightful)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862078)

The real problem isn't that you post the pictures of yourself, it is that one of your "friends" posted them.

Re:Whoa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21862164)

Facebook and other searches create two problems. One is that you may not be the one tagging your name and posting pictures of you online, and you can be judged by unknown criteria based upon such images and descriptions. This isn't so bad because you can control what you do in your own time, but it becomes a problem if you are disqualified for a job because, for example, you are tagged in a picture of a protest, or you are pictured wearing a COPS t-shirt when doing so violates an off-duty dress code of some police department to which you are applying. It will take time for culture to become accustomed to increased transparency (which will have to happen if social networking sites continue to remain popular, easily searchable catalogs of peoples' lives). (In the meantime, I imagine more people will start using services to clean up their online image when the shock that their lives can be as easily scrutinized as politicians' lives.)

The best argument against using social networks in screening is that an employer can easily reduce the traceability of discriminatory hiring practices by simply using Facebook et al. Such screenings should not be cause to shut down the Internet, but the possibility of such screenings should force employers to document and record the use of screenings to help safeguard against traceless, discriminatory hiring practices.

Re:Whoa (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862246)

Yeah, and that webcam in your bathroom is really, really bad taste... ;)

So, what you're TRYING to say is.. (4, Funny)

Klowner (145731) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861840)

It's probably not a good idea to get totally trashed, strip naked, and broadcast yourself all over the internet?

http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/12/29/jim-chomas-career-joins-the-deadpool-maybe/ [techcrunch.com]

Better tell that dude.

Re:So, what you're TRYING to say is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21862112)

Yeah gays! Yeah gays!

Re:So, what you're TRYING to say is.. (2, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862138)

Unless you happen to be Jenna Jameson, that is.

Not just jobs, but lives (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21861848)

It does happen, as illustrated by this tragic case [dwarfurl.com]

PARENT REDIRECTS TO MYMINICITY (0, Offtopic)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861894)

It does happen, as illustrated by this tragic case [myminicity.com]
When someone dies after losing a job, is he reincarnated in Holdenville or something?

Re:PARENT REDIRECTS TO MYMINICITY (yes, Zonk's) (1)

Just because I'm an (847583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862202)

The particular minicity being redirected to involves the editor of Slashdot who posted the story...

Holden's are shit cars BTW ;-)

screwmyminicity.com (3, Interesting)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862332)

Ok, myminicity .com assholes. Playtime is over.

I've really had it with the myminicity.com crowd, and to put a stop to this nonsense I've set up a little website. [screwmyminicity.com]

Stop posting your myminicity links here and elsewhere, if myminicity.com wants to grow they can surely find a way to do it without inconveniencing others.

If you don't then I'm calling on the rest of the audience here to report those links to the site above and if they want to help a little further to place a 1 pixel image tag on their website which will give the myminicity .com people hopefully more traffic than they were bargaining for.

For starters I've placed one on http://ww.com/ [ww.com] , feel free to come and help.

This is just another spam wave and if this doesn't get stopped now then it will be seen as a vindication of the principle and before long there will be 100's of sites doing this.

Rewarding your users for bad behaviour has to be one of the most annoying marketing tactics that has ever been devised.

i would just like to say that (2, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861858)

um...

(looks over shoulder)

that uh...

i'll tell you later, gotta go

More like how to lose your job cause you're stupid (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861884)

If you do something in public in your own time, it can and will affect your employment and is of concern to your employer. No bank wants an employee that's a convicted fraudster. No school wants teachers who are porn stars. No police force wants an ex-con as an officer. The issue isn't whether you conduct these activities in your own time or not, or if the Internet was used. The issue is that you're in a trusted position, and that your employer may have the right to terminate your employment if they perceive a conflict of interest, or if something you've done or are doing in your spare time means you can't effectively do your job.

Now if employers terminate people unreasonably for being part of a political organization, due to their ethnicity or religion or for some other discriminatory reason the existing legal protection needs to come into play (as is the case of Stacy Snyder mentioned in TFA - terminating someone for being seen with a large glass of alcohol is moronic - that said she's better off with a different employer if that's how her current one acts). We don't need new special laws for the Internet. We may need minor adjustments to existing laws to take the Internet into account. We certainly don't need special protection for morons be they employer or employee.

Are we really suppose to have sympathy for morons who don't know what they put on the net is public?

Re:More like how to lose your job cause you're stu (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861910)

You go to a lot of trouble to explain what employers should and shouldn't be able to fire someone for doing, and then you go and call people who exercise these rights "morons". WTF?

Re:More like how to lose your job cause you're stu (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862028)

I also fail to see how a picture of you drunk on a saturday night half naked compromises your ability to do your job if all you do is work in an office where *everyone* including the boss gets drunk and half naked on a saturday night.

We're mostly geeks here.. we work in offices where people will behave, well, like people when they're away from the office. To fire someone for doing that is tantamount to discriminating against them for being human.

Re:More like how to lose your job cause you're stu (0, Troll)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862130)

Quite simple, laws suck. There are reasonable things for which an employer shouldn't discriminate. For this conversation, I'll go with skin colour. My refusing to hire a programmer because she's black isn't reasonable, and that being criminal is acceptable to me the vast majority of the time. However, laws tend to over-step their bounds -- or lawyers tend to flex laws to encompass their client's situation. My refusing to hire a programmer because of her religion is perfectly reasonable. In my case, our development schedules often include days that are religious holidays. I can't lose my employees to "a higher power". So while I don't care about their god, I need to ensure that they don't all share the same god because I can't lose them all on the same day.

Anyone employee who exercises that particular right against me, doesn't see the problems with which I am faced. So when I refuse to hire her because her schedule doesn't accomodate the job's requirements -- or potential requirements -- her lawyer can easily swing that into a religious issue, which simply isn't fair to me.

Same goes for a mother versus a single man. And hey, if they wine and dine potential customers often, a vegetarian simply isn't acceptable. Now I'm not going to write the job description to include the expected diet, but I am going to expect my employee to eat when my client takes them to a steak house.

That's why those people are morons. Because they think that their personal life has nothing to do with their employer. When in reality, their employer's life is fully integrated with their employer's business, and your personal life is fully a part of your person -- your person being the one that's employed.

Re:More like how to lose your job cause you're stu (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862228)

Excuse me, but I was talking to syousef (465911), not you. Although your opinion is interesting and well thought out, you're simply not capable of answering the question which I directed to him. If you meant to reply to him instead of me, please excuse this post, otherwise please butt out of our conversation, it's very rude to attempt to answer for him as his opinions obviously differ from yours significantly.

I, personally, am of the opinion that employers should be free to hire and fire people for whatever reasons they like.. assuming of course they are owners of the business.. if they are just agents of the company then clearly it is up to the owners to decide the policy, but that's where the buck stops.

Re:More like how to lose your job cause you're stu (2, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862304)

He didn't call people who exorcise their rights "morons". He said that people who don't understand that the Internet is public are put their shit on it are morons.

The Idea that someone would post something trashing their current job and then expect that no one connected to the job would ever see it is moronic.

Well i work for NBC and We all hate niggers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21861952)

Just last week on the tonight show, we told this nigger joke in front a baby nigger, and since he couldnt speak english (not like any nigger can), he wasnt offended. We thought it was histerical though.

Privacy is a good thing.

Seriously, i'm not racist, but i do beleive no word is ever too evil, too bad, or should ever be held against you. HOWEVER i must post my point anonymously in fear of the rest of the world that doesnt get it.

You are not your job, no matter how hard corporate america wants to own you. They have NO control over your private life. Blow the fucking building up of any employer that dare control your life.

-Tyler

First rule of new fight club... you're owned by them, now that you realize it... what just are you going to do about it?

Re:More like how to lose your job cause you're stu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21861966)

Um, I actually know a teacher who does pornos.

Did we read two different articles? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862094)

The article I read was about the second case you're talking about. Unreasonable discrimination based on legal activities outside the workplace.

You seem to have made up your own article entirely. I didn't read anything about convicted fraudsters, or teacher pornstars. Can you point us towards the article to which you're responding too?

Re:More like how to lose your job cause you're stu (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862120)

No bank wants an employee that's a convicted fraudster. No school wants teachers who are porn stars. No police force wants an ex-con as an officer.

I understand that a person with large amounts of cash and electronic transfer information shouldn't have a history of stealing cash and via electronic transfers (similar enough to fraudster). I can understand police forces not wanting most ex-cons because they have to uphold the law and not violate it. However, I fail to see why a school should be allowed to rule on the sexual activities of a teacher.

Re:More like how to lose your job cause you're stu (3, Insightful)

klaun (236494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862328)

If you do something in public in your own time, it can and will affect your employment and is of concern to your employer. No bank wants an employee that's a convicted fraudster. No school wants teachers who are porn stars. No police force wants an ex-con as an officer. The issue isn't whether you conduct these activities in your own time or not, or if the Internet was used. The issue is that you're in a trusted position, and that your employer may have the right to terminate your employment if they perceive a conflict of interest, or if something you've done or are doing in your spare time means you can't effectively do your job.

Two of the three examples you cite are about people who have been convicted of a crime. Convict status is something you don't need the Internet to find out and is something where there is a legal reduction in rights. The third example of a teacher moonlighting as an actor or model for pornography is rather an extreme and (I believe intentionally) inflammatory example. It is by necessity a public profession and one in which participation could be revealed even if no Internet existed.

Where I live, the state of Georgia here in the USA, your employer has the right to terminate you for any reason whatsoever (excepting of course discriminatory reasons based on minority, religious, veteran or disabled status) or without cause. So its not about the right of your employer to terminate. Its about the wisdom of terminating someone based on something you found out about them online. Any competent manager should be able to tell whether you are doing your job well or not, without the aid of facebook photos showing your drinking, getting high, or snorting coke off a strippers tits. If you can do your job, why should it matter what you put on the net?

Are we really suppose to have sympathy for morons who don't know what they put on the net is public?

You seem really fond of the word moron and its variants which you use thrice in your post. It of course refers to someone with diminished intelligence. So in response to your question, should I have sympathy for someone who has limited intellectual faculties, my response is yes. Of course, I do. What kind of monster are you that you don't?! But perhaps your repeated use of moron and variants is an indication of your own limitations, in this case of vocabulary. Maybe you meant to describe the individuals as foolhardy, naive, ignorant... In all of these cases, I still have sympathy for them. Everyone makes mistakes, but the Internet can trap those mistakes indefinitely like a fly in amber. Preserved for who knows how long... It is a major shift from a time when even the most celebrated of mistakes a person might make would fade in the collective memory and only diligent searching of newspaper archives, public records, and other references would uncover it.

I think your callous dismissal of the serious issue raised here is unwarranted. If anything it contributes to the ignorance that your deride (inaccurately with the word 'moron'). You suggest that people should already be aware of an issue at the same time you mock the fact that the issue is even being discussed. Obviously, given that people are ignorant of it, it needs to be discussed more, not less!

Boston Legal (2, Interesting)

ConanG (699649) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861918)

Wasn't this covered in a Boston Legal episode already? It was the one where the cross-dressing lawyer and his female friend did a singing and dancing routine that made its way to Youtube and he almost got fired.

Re:Boston Legal (2, Interesting)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861980)

Yeh.

They've also touched on similar topics on the show, specifically smoking. On that episode, a woman who only smoked at home or offsite got fired because of a company rule. The boss was a health nut and wanted his employees healthier. In the end he hid behind having to supply health insurance, but his earlier conversations were zealous: I know better than you. The boss won.

It comes down to a lot of states having "right to hire" rules. This means they can fire you for just about any reason (or none at all) so long as it isn't motivated by certain things: race, religion, gender, perhaps age, etc.

Your boss could say "you wear the color blue too often" and they'd be fine.

I personally think it's a horrible law. I'm all for letting someone go if the person isn't performing well, or you need to make cutbacks, or if the boss feels the employee isn't working well within the team. But if you're going to fire someone because they're a bad bowler then you're in the wrong.

Re:Boston Legal (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862336)

Well, they aren't really getting by scott free. In all of the at will states, there is an unemployment compensation that is supposed to help you find a new job and the former employer has to pay it is your termination was because of no fault of your own.

It would be hard to argue that wearing the color blue to many times is a fault of yours worthy of your termination if there isn't already a company policy in place saying you can only wear the color blue X times to work in a month or something similar. So they will be punished in a way, having to pay your unemployment check for you not working isn't really a good thing for any company.

this FP For GNAa? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21861926)

!and coders [goat.cx]

Company image...to an extent (1)

Lord Aurora (969557) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861932)

It sounds like the companies in question might be using the excuse that "we need to keep up a good company image." There's something to be said for that...but there's also something to be said for taking it way, way too far. People in the armed forces should have to worry about acting out in uniform, a FedEx employee shouldn't have the same fears.

Re:Company image...to an extent (1)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862154)

You've never stopped using a supplier because of one of their employees? I have. I've stopped using Purolator because their marketing says they assist businesses in all of our shipping needs. And when I went to send something, they opted to put my fragile proposal into an over-sized box, and not secure it from bashing around. They refused to tear of some paper to stuff into the box, and they had no appropriately-sized boxes. I promptly went down the street to Fedex, after I swore at the Purator employee loud enough for half of the parking lot to hear.

I won't use Puralator ever again because of that.

Re:Company image...to an extent (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862338)

While your response is technically a correct response, it missed the context. The discussion was about off-hour activities. Have you stopped using a company's products or services because of what one of their employees did in their off-time?

its been said and its going to be said again (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861936)

if you link your online accounts to your real identity, you have to keep in mind that it is just the same as if you actually said what you posted line in reality. that in mind, you should have the same standards for your online account that is linked to you as you would in real life. anything you want to say that you wouldnt want linked to your name, you should really post under an account that your employer cant link to you or if that isn't possible somehow, don't say it.

Well, no kidding! (4, Insightful)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 6 years ago | (#21861938)

Just because it wasn't possible before to know what you're employees are like is not only not the point, it's also very much the point. On the first note, more information is a good thing. And you if can discover that your employee is whatever you consider weird, you're welcome to stop working with them. On the second note, if you can discover that your employee is whatever you consider weird, so can your clients. A public face is a public face, and if an employee intends to work in a job where that face matters -- i.e. the face of the company -- then yes, their on-line activities count just as much as their off-line activities.

My father taught me this when I was six, and it rings true here. At a baseball game, some reporter was going around asking for public opinion regarding some baseball issue. My father denied the interview saying that he was the officer of a public communications company, and should not be presented publicly by this reporter; even on a matter as unrelated as his opinions on baseball.

Now, I own and operate my own company. And yes, I look for good people to work with me. You'd beter believe I want them to be good people all-around. Their welcome to vent to me, and they can insult me to my face all they like. They can insult my clients to my face as well. But when they do anything that my clients can see, or to which my clients have access, they had better conduct themselves in a manner that I deem suitable.

Right or wrong, if my client says that they don't like my employee, I take that very seriously. Accidents and general human error are acceptable in moderation. Disregard for my business -- even during off-hours -- is completely unacceptable.

In my perspective, many employees (I don't mean only mine, I do in fact include many of my friends that work for others) consider their employment to be a right. No matter how good you are at your job, your employor has invested way more time and way more effort, and way more RISK into the business than you'll ever even consider for as long as you're an employee.

You don't deserve squat -- that's why you get nothing but money for your time. You work is appreciated, but the intelectual property isn't yours, and the risk wasn't yours, and the value-rewards won't be yours. The clients aren't yours, the company isn't yours. There's an enormous risk in starting your own business, and it's a gigantic under-taking to maintain any business. Being a cog in the machine is worth the grease, and little more.

My father would come home, after long days of negotiating some government contract for the communication company for which he worked. After a successful victory, he'd boast to his wife how he'd saved the company millions of dollars. She'd turn to him and say: "so, how much of it is ours?". Of course the answer is zero. That was his job, he did it well, he got paid as expected, plus or minus an annual bonus. The given victory meant nothing financially.

Know that when you work for someone else, you get to avoid the many headaches that go into running a business and being accountable to an entity that you've created. Also know that when you go out on your own, you deserve all of the glory, credit, blame, and defeat.

Re:Well, no kidding! (3, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862092)

Bloody hell after reading that diatribe I'm sure glad I'm not an employee of yours.

You treat them like shit they'll do shit work. It'll be nice looking shit because you've told them that appearance is all that matters. But it'll still be shit.

A company is a collaboration of everyone working together as a team. *everyone* takes risks and *everyone* shares in the rewards. The boss has the highest potential reward (and the highest potential loss) but it's not *their* company exclusively because they couldn't possibly do everything on their own. They needed the employees. Not slaves, as you seem to believe.

Re:Well, no kidding! (2, Interesting)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862226)

You're 100% incorrect. Start your own business, and you'll find out that you get to do absolutely everything yourself. You hire people to save you the time, and then you get to supervise them. You spend all of your time taking what their willing to give, and knowing that it could be better. Rare is the case where your employee actually does something as well as you want them to do it because rare is the case that your employee could care less.

They have absolutely no risk -- they have nothing to lose. You pay them no matter what, and you can almost never hold them accountable for your actual loses when they screw up. And yet, your client holds you responsible, as well they should.

That's the difference. When an employee screws up and, say, a little bug in their programming forgets to actually charge the tax on every purchase, the client forces you, the owner, to pay that money. And you can't make the employee pay it because first, the employee doesn't have that kind of money, second, it's like three years of their salary, third, they're not responsible for their mistakes, I am. It's my fault that I didn't check their work, and it's my fault that it went live before it was perfect.

That's called accountability, and that's called risk. The employee doesn't have any skin in the game. They can lose their job, and they can get another one. But they can also lose my house, and I can't get another one.

It's my business, I know is my company because I started it, I've been there every day, and unless I have partners, no one else has any skin in the game.

Employees are most definitely slaves. They get no decisions, and they aren't responsible for their actions. They get paid for their time, independent of the work they do -- that's better than slaves. Don't get me wrong, employees are great. You get to grow a business, you get to handle more things and take advantage of someone else's expertiese. But you get to me accountable for their actions, which makes them a liability as well. So it's a balancing game. And you never forget that you've ante'd your house.

Re:Well, no kidding! (5, Insightful)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862114)

You don't deserve squat -- that's why you get nothing but money for your time. You work is appreciated, but the intelectual property isn't yours, and the risk wasn't yours, and the value-rewards won't be yours. The clients aren't yours, the company isn't yours. There's an enormous risk in starting your own business, and it's a gigantic under-taking to maintain any business. Being a cog in the machine is worth the grease, and little more.

And we wonder where loyalty went? With this attitude you'll get the employees you deserve.

Re:Well, no kidding! (2, Insightful)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862266)

I have a huge amount of loyalty, but not to employees, to partners for sure. Employees have far too many "rights" for the no risk that they offer.

You want to be a part of my business and be treated as an equal, you get to put in an equal or equivalent amount. Most employees have absolutely no idea what goes on outside of their desk and their hours.

When your mother told you to clean your room, and you thought that was annoying, wait until you get to fix the roof, pay the mortage, calculate the taxes that someone else charges but won't calculate for you, and then clean the rest of the house. You don't get to be a part of household decisions because you have no idea what they are.

Re:Well, no kidding! (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862128)

A problem I have with much of your argument is that you're saying that the company only has to pay for your work but you're basically saying that it's fine for the company to act as if they own you around the clock, that's what it boils down to. That's kind of a vicious bargain if you ask me. I understand that there are limits, but your interpretation of where the limits are look to be quite one-sided.

Re:Well, no kidding! (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862222)

Okay, so what if I consider "being jewish" to be "weird" as you say?

What am I, as an employer, entitled to do about that?

Let's go there. Straight to the root of the problem. You don't get to decide what is "weird" and what is "acceptable to a public face".

No matter how badly you want that to be your decision, it's not, and it never will be.

Re:Well, no kidding! (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862268)

Religion, race, ethnicity, sex (a.k.a. gender) and such are protected, you can't legally be fired for these grounds. However, sexuality is not protected, which is a problem for gays.

Now finding whether someone really was fired for any of these reasons is pretty tough, such accusations are too easily countered as "poor job performance". Take a look at the prosecutor firings ordered by the White House for example. The only reason they were fired was for not dropping investigations of Republicans, claims of poor performance weren't backed up and were countered with glowing job reviews on the part of the DOJ. I don't think any of those prosecutors got their jobs back.

Re:Well, no kidding! (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862308)

Let's go there. Straight to the root of the problem. You don't get to decide what is "weird" and what is "acceptable to a public face".

Oh, he already went there in another one of his posts on this story. To quote him:

My refusing to hire a programmer because of her religion is perfectly reasonable. In my case, our development schedules often include days that are religious holidays. I can't lose my employees to "a higher power". So while I don't care about their god, I need to ensure that they don't all share the same god because I can't lose them all on the same day.

Anyone employee who exercises that particular right against me, doesn't see the problems with which I am faced. So when I refuse to hire her because her schedule doesn't accomodate the job's requirements -- or potential requirements -- her lawyer can easily swing that into a religious issue, which simply isn't fair to me.


You're kidding right? (1)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862316)

An employee is selling their time to an employer, not their life, not their soul.

(I'd grant an exception for celebrities who are explicitly selling their face, name and reputation for use by the employer, but I think that's a silly business anyway)

Yawnnnnnnn.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21862000)

If you're a real geek - just remote desktop to lab machine and login as your boss id+password and browse the internet ;)

What do you expect? (0, Redundant)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862006)

If your job has you isolated in a cube farm with utterly no contact with the outside world during work hours, I'd say you can do whatever you want in your off hours. Today, jobs like that are getting rare and likely to be non-existent in the near future.

Let's say you have a technical job that involves nothing more than talking to an occasional tecnical partner of your employer. When the person you're talking to finds something outrageous about you, do you think it isn't going to get around? Worse, let's say they are a rabid fundamentalist and find out about your Wiccan postings on the web. Sure, it isn't any of their business but that hardly stops anyone anymore. If you can't communicate with the people you're supposed to communicate with as part of your job, it is going to come back to you. Yes, it is a round-about path up through your company's partner and back down, but it still happens.

If you have a customer service job, magnify this by about 100x. If your employer is ever connected with your online identity and you do something outrageous or offensive to some, it will come back around to you in the end.

Can your employer afford this sort of nonsense? Not usually. So much so that if your off-hours activities affect you, your job or your employer in any way you are going to need to find a new job that didn't get burned.

Finally, if you think your off-hours activities have no effect on your job, what would you say about a cop that belongs to the KKK or other white power group and patrols a black inner city area during the day? No connection? My guess is that police department is going to get sued by some big-name black folks if something like this ever came out. Even if he never does anything, the connection will taint everything. Your job may not be as sensitive or as public, but you can't isolate your life completely between work and non-work. Can't be done.

Re:What do you expect? (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862042)

"If your job has you isolated in a cube farm with utterly no contact with the outside world during work hours"

This employee perhaps needs to be fired for lack of purpose. Or re-deployed.

When I no longer have contact outside of my little corporate world of co-workers, I'm getting my resume updated and out there.

You don't even need internet to get fired for off. (3, Informative)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862026)

Too uptight (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21862046)

On the one hand, I have very little posted under my real name, and what I do is just general responses on tech forums. I don't have a myspace page; I have photos but they are on a home webserver. Probably based on my posts, people could tell I use Linux, don't like Windows, and don't like Apple's attitude (but forced to chose between Windows and OSX, would chose OSX.) If they saw the photos they could tell where I've gone on a few vacations.

          On the other hand, it's simply none of the employer's business what happens off-hours. In the case the NYTimes uses as an example, I hope she wins. A single photo of someone drinking..something.. is not a big deal, and the other excuse of a "well-groomed and dressed" rule is ridiculous -- this obviously means at work. If they mean 24x7, employees would have to stay dressed while asleep, and have their face waxed so they don't get 6 o'clock shadow while they sleep.

          I know for a fact *I* wouldn't be fired for that kind of photo. At work, people at my work are casual but reasonably professional. Off work, they drink, some people I used to work with got into barfights like every weekend, they smoke pot, a few have done 8-balls now and then, a few have been into tatoos, knives, and guns. People don't drink, do drugs, fight, or play with guns and knives at work, so what they do offtime is simply irrelevant, period. That's the way it's supposed to be.

Where to draw the line, though? (5, Insightful)

Token_Internet_Girl (1131287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862116)

I want to quote this first:

If you do something in public in your own time, it can and will affect your employment and is of concern to your employer. No bank wants an employee that's a convicted fraudster. No school wants teachers who are porn stars. No police force wants an ex-con as an officer. The issue isn't whether you conduct these activities in your own time or not, or if the Internet was used. The issue is that you're in a trusted position, and that your employer may have the right to terminate your employment if they perceive a conflict of interest, or if something you've done or are doing in your spare time means you can't effectively do your job.

I agree that "conflicts of interests" as mentioned above do have a right to be known to employers. However, when does this stop becoming an genuine effort to root out the so-called "stripper teacher," and become an threadbare excuse to fire someone for lack of conformity? Let me illustrate. I am always 110% work appropriate when I am on the job, however in my off hours I wear alot of piercings, I show tattoos, I like to go out and have drinks and hang with friends. There is, with today's digital camera boom, a good chance pictures will be taken of these activities in my off time. Now, if the place I work for is generally church going, khaki and polo button down straight edge family types, they might absolutely abhor my personal life, even though I don't bring it to work. Now the issue becomes, "if one worker doesn't fit the company image in and out of work, cut him loose." Can you see how easy the line between business interest and privacy can get blurred and abused? It feels like a door for socialized work places(sans government). Maybe I make a slightly paranoid case, but self expression is highly important to me; I'd hate to live half a life for fear of losing my job.

Re:Where to draw the line, though? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862172)

You'd be surprised. If you prove you can be businesslike during business hours whilst being nonconformist and creative outside.. that's a huge asset. It proves you're both flexible and creative. Bosses really like people to be a bit different - those kind of people often have the best ideas (they also have the most off the wall stupid ideas.. but we can deal with that).

Plus it'd liven up office parties :p

Re:Where to draw the line, though? (1)

Token_Internet_Girl (1131287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862204)

I suppose this is true, but I can't imagine even half the world being so open-minded :-) Maybe its the years of black hair dye and fundamentalist Christians? Lol.

Judgement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21862122)

Would you really want to employ somebody who posted their drunken-partying photographs on a bulletin board in the center of town?

Re:Judgement? (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862258)

As long as no laws were broken and they did not have a history of letting that behavior affect their performance, why would it matter? They might be really great at what they do, and that is all I would care about.

Possibly (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862148)

you may not want to work in a company doing this anyway....

If you don't have a choice, there goes another piece of "freedom" sacrificed to nitpicking tigh-asses unable to get a life, instead paying to their corporate, political or religous gods and philosophies instead.

Seems to be the trend and the general fear factor goes up a notch more.

In the first place, folks are humans wanting to enjoy their lifes and that aspect seems to be getting lost more and more.

Yep...happened to me... (1)

javab0y (708376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862150)

I am a "semi-well-known" open source guy (name is being withheld to protect the innocent) and I was recently working for IBM on a well-known open source project for which they have taken over. They saw I had a web page up that listed me as a principal owner of my consulting company. The page wasn't changed since before I started with them - much over a year ago...and is even proven by an archive.org review. They now just "figured it out" and canned me...no questioning...no inquisition... They said they Googled me and found I was a CTO of this company...I was CTO before I started. What is funny is I was an outstanding employee for IBM and won 2 "Thank you" awards the Friday before the canning from different areas within IBM....go figure...

All worked out...started a contract the day the canned me...guess I'm better off w/o them.

the internet is older than many people think. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21862166)

Some of us have been around since the early or mid 80's. Back then, it was accepted practice to post on usenet with your real name. Nobody thought, at the time, that those posts would end up archived forever.

I never posted anything I'd regret later, but some other people were not so lucky. It's one thing to stand here in 2007/8 and think how silly it would be to post something you'd not want certain people to see using you real name. But back in the day, there were only a few hundred or thousand nodes on the net, depending on when you got here, and nobody really had any idea that their every word (in a then-ephemeral medium) would be archived in perpetuity.

like my name is really anonymous coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21862192)

I can't find me online without using the wayback machine.

This is wrong.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21862194)

On the one hand, I post very little under my real name. Usually I post anonymously. From my real posts, people could probably figure I like Linux, don't like Windows, and don't like Apple's behaviours. But, if forced to chose between Windows and OSX, I'd pick OSX. My photos are on a personal web server, and people could infer when I went on vacation from them.

          On the other hand employers really don't have business firing people over online activities. In the example given, firing someone for drinking a single cup of ...something... is ridiculous. And the second reason, because of a "groomed and well dressed" rule, is more ridiculous -- obviously, that is intended for on-the-job. What, all employees there have to stay dressed even in bed, and wax their face so they don't wake up with 6 o'clock shadow? That's ridiculous.

          Luckily I work somewhere where this is no problem. People behave on the job, and can do anything they want on their own time. I know for a fact that people that have worked at my current place of employment have drank, gotten into barfights, smoked pot, done the occasional 8-ball, and some were into guns and knives. Well, they don't drink, do drugs, fight, or play with knives and guns at work, so it's simply irrelevant to work. This is the American way -- off-work time is off-work time and people can do whatever they want in that time.

Need to get out more (1)

RobDollar (1137885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862256)

Why not just let people be? Time and effort into investigating if your employee feels you are a frustrating boss with a small time neurosis and a paranoid streak are surely not worth the company time or money. It's a "conspiracy theory" right in the open.

The Burden of Proof (2, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862294)

Woe be to the company that takes an action against someone for whom they find negative information which was put up by someone else. Such "sociological offices" would be highly unlikely to be able to prove the true source of the posting. IP spoofing is ridiculously easy. Someone who loses their job over such unproven and unprovable data (except by a truly exceptional forensic sysadmin) could have a fine time collecting on a wrongful termination suit, and take the "sociological office" weasels down in the process, and ruining the stock price of of the company by pushing the story onto the media by playing the aggrieved little guy with a little overacting.

To someone even minimally trained in psycops and IP diddling for whom such stuff appears, it should occur that one couple protect themselves from such an action by posting equally off the wall junk, spoofing the IP to hide the fact they posted it themselves, to bait the boneheads trying to make a case. Posting some equally disturbing info about these who're performing the the search would let them know they've been bested in such a way that they dare not continue without outting themselves on the process. One can even make it obvious but unprovable who did it (or had it done for them) without the hyperactive little HR people being able to do anything about it, except perhaps admit they're not good enough at this for the company to use their services, possibly even getting them cut from the salary list.

The best defense if a good offense. The best offense here is to make them publicly shove proof of their own inadequacy up their own ass. A person could have enormous fun and possibly set themselves up for a healthy early retirement. Getting the fsckheads who tried to out you fired would just be icing.

Contradicton (4, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#21862324)

One thing that continually puzzles me is how a company can tell their shareholders/customers/government regulators that anything they do is fair so long as it lies within the letter of the law. Then they turn around and expect employees to adhere to a code of conduct that is more strict.

I find that their sense of ethics is usually quite impaired.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...