Sunday, January 25, 2009

Should Corporations be privy to our private thoughts - and fire us if they don't like them?

I have a problem with the idea of a company keeping tabs on your private conversations and when they find something they don't like, dismissing the employee. You might say that Facebook is a public forum; fair enough. But there is a certain amount of 'community' involved, and if you don't like what someone is saying or doing, ignore them.

My point really is that how different is trivial banter on Facebook to having ordinary conversations in our homes, or on cellphones etc. or even at work. It equates to someone recording something you say and running to someone else, and saying, "See, they're a racist 'cos they said this and this." A bit like playing in the kindergarten isn't it?

How does a corporation have the right to say, "Gee, we spied on you and here's evidence of what you said. You're fired." The reason I say this is because theoretically, spy on anyone for long enough and you'll come up with questionable behaviopur. The person firing the out-of-line employee, surely, has uttered racial epithets, or watched porn or been completely out of line otherwise.

The other aspect is, the person who is charged with racism/etc ought to be given an opportunity to:
- apologise
- respond to the accusations

Of course in the particular case mentioned below, the racial remarks aren't pleasant, and I'm not defending them. But how many companies (and employees of these companies) are not guilty of bias? If you allow witchunting on facebook and blogs etc, you'll find people are conveniently terminated not on the basis of their work ethic, but on the basis of someone else seeking to score points and perhaps move up the corporate ladder, you may end up with a staff of professional backstabbers who are pretty shabby at doing or even focussing on their work.
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