Social networking sites become objects of embarrassment for some companies

At the Bargain Zone, a freight surplus store in Lee's Summit, Missouri, office manager Jeff LeMasters was clear about cell phone and Internet rules for employees:

No personal calls, no texting, while on the store floor. And employees had to sign a contract that said they’d be terminated for personal use of the Internet while working.

But LeMasters wasn’t clear about what to do when “someone called and told us we needed to take a look” at what an employee wrote on Facebook.

The employee “was basically trashing us online,” LeMasters found. The comments included profanity and derogatory things about the work and the owners.

“We had no way to know if that could have a negative impact on our business, but we knew we didn’t want it out there,” LeMasters said.

The world of Facebook, MySpace and YouTube postings is giving employers headaches. Often, employers like LeMasters are exploring on a case-by-case basis what rights they have to police employees’ blogs and social networking pages.

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