Workplace Blogger Gets Back Pay

September 15, 2006 ( - Will Vehrs, a business services manager for the Virginia Department of Business Assistance, has won back pay after being suspended without pay for 10 days in May for "excessive casual use of the Internet."

Vehrs had, while at work in April, contributed to an online contest in which bloggers write their own captions for photos, according to the AP. Vehrs has apologized repeatedly for his comments.

State mediator David J. Latham reviewed Vehrs’ suspension and determined that the agency had not shown that Vehrs’ blogging affected either his or any other employee’s work performance or that it violated any other policy, regulation or guideline. The Department of Business Assistance did not have such rules in April, but later banned blogging on agency time.

A recent survey by the American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute indicates that employers have been clamping down on employees’ computer privileges and reprimanding them for misuse, but blogs – short for web-based logs – are a relatively recent concern. The survey found that just 9% of employers say they have a policy governing the use of personal blogs on company time and only 5% have strict anti-blog policies banning blog use on company time (see Employers Tightening Controls on Employees’ At-Work Computer Use ).