Blogging has hit the mainstream in corporate America. A recent article notes that Southwest Airlines, Google, Delta, and IBM have corporate blogs. And with them have come the predictable problems caused by employees who abuse them. Google and Delta, for instance, have terminated employees for misuse of corporate blogs.
The concern is not new. Many companies have policies related to internet and e-mail use in order to protect themselves from liability caused by employee misuse. Now that blogs are becoming widespread, that protection needs to be extended.
Blogs pose three major risks to companies:
The possibility of having people disclose company trade secrets.
Lack of control over negative information posted to blogs.
Potential for liability for a blog's content.
As with internet use and e-mail, inappropriate content on a blog could also create a hostile work environment, giving rise to liability for sexual harassment.
The remedy is for a company to implement a blogging policy that is appropriate to the nature of its business and its particular culture. Once the policy is implemented, it should be applied consistently. That's the best way to minimize the legal risks while maintaining the benefits of blogging.