Thursday, October 15, 2009

Apple G5s At Microsoft Get Employee Fired

I was in a softball league where there was some funny named teams. The scariest named team we played wasn't the Sharks In My Pants or The Hatchet Men, but a team named The Lawyers.

Employers are nervous about social media and they are right to be. It also should make employees and contractors nervous as well (please don't sue me). I recently read this article which came from about how an office temp got caught up in the, "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC," computer wars. The jist of the story by Michael J. Powell and David Gevertz follows:

An interesting example of online misconduct is that of Michael "Woody"
Hanscom who chose imprudently to post in cyberspace without authorization
information gained from his workplace. On his way to work at Microsoft one day,
Mr. Hanscom saw a number of Apple G5 computers being delivered on Microsoft's
loading dock, some of which had fallen off a pallet. Thinking his friends might
find the event amusing, Mr. Hanscom took a picture of the Apple computers and
later posted the photo on his blog. Mr. Hanscom titled the photo "Even Microsoft
wants G5's," and mentioned "the print shop I work in is in the same building as
MS's shipping and receiving." While his posts may have garnered a few
laughs, they also led to the termination of his employment – ultimately due to
breaching Microsoft's security guidelines.

Of particular interest, however, is the fact that Mr. Hanscom did not work
for Microsoft. He had gained access to Microsoft's campus through his employment
with a temporary staffing firm, Today's Staffing, on a contract job with Xerox,
which handled Microsoft's copy service. As a temporary worker, Mr. Hanscom
claimed he was not told of Microsoft's security guidelines, but had followed
Xerox regulations and did not know photography on Microsoft's campus was a
violation of any confidentiality agreement. Also, since the loading dock was
visible from a public road along with much of Microsoft's campus, there was some
question as to whether the photo captured information that was truly
confidential. Nevertheless, Mr. Hanscom's employment on Microsoft's campus was

It makes me even nervous quoting lawyers. Please don't sue me. The article goes into more detail about Content Rights, Copywright Considerations, and Defamation. The title of the article is "Legal Issues Presented By Social Networking."

I'm not saying don't blog. I'm not saying don't criticize anything. Social Media is a great medium for informing us all about both amazing and horrible products. I'm just saying be careful. Don't get sued and don't sue me.


marion said...

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