February 9, 2005

Mark Jen blogged out

by brian_turner

Controversial Google blogger, Mark Jen, has been reportedly sacked from the company.

As covered in Google censors staff?, he was a new employee to Google, and had made critical remarks about relocation procedures, internal organisation, and finance benefits after salary – only for his blog to disappear – then reappear in slightly edited form.

Now he has been reportedly sacked over the episode.

The case acutely raises the profile of rights of speech among company employees. For example, is it ever acceptable for an exployee to be even mildly critical of their employer in public? To what degree is an employee determined to be responsible to their employer, even after hours?

Popular Yahoo! blogger, Jeremy Zawodny, discusses how Yahoo! approaches such issues in A Chat with Mark Jen, indicating that at least mild public criticism from high-profile staff is tolerated.

However, what worked probably worked especially against Mark Jen’s favour is his commenting of financial information, especially with regards to imminent stock reports.

Ultimately this will be a lesson for both parties involved – but it also serves as a very public reminder of how potential conflicts arising between employee responsibility and employer tolerance in the blogosphere.

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Story link: Mark Jen blogged out


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