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Blogger axed by Waterstone's

A Waterstone's employee has been sacked after they wrote a blog referring to his boss as 'evil' and his employer as 'Bastardstone's'
Written by Jo Best, Contributor
An employee of book chain Waterstone's has been fired for material he included in his blog.

Joe Gordon, who has been running his Woolamaloo Gazette satirical newsletter since 1992, was dismissed last week after working for the bookseller for 11 years, following a disciplinary hearing.

Gordon's blog, which covers everything from the city of Edinburgh to UN scientists in Iraq, also mentions his work in one of the chain's Edinburgh branches. As well as discussing visits from authors to the store and which cartoon characters his work colleagues would be, Gordon occasionally used his online diary to vent steam about his working life.

And it's terms like Bastardstone's and Evil Boss which have drawn Waterstone's ire.

Although Waterstone's has no employee policy that deals with blogging, according to Gordon, the chain said that Gordon's blog had brought it into disrepute.

Gordon, however, maintains that such descriptions were intended light-heartedly and were meant to reminiscent of a Dilbert cartoon. "I didn't set out with intent to harm," he said.

"I was gobsmacked," Gordon said of his sacking. The ex-bookseller, who ran a book group for the shop and has appeared on TV and radio as a Waterstone's employee, continued: "I've done so much promotion for this company, it's not true."

If his manager had asked him to stop talking about his job at Waterstone's in his blog, Gordon said he would have done so. "I could live with not talking about that... they've been so heavy-handed," he said.

Gordon is currently talking to his union about his dismissal and may take further action. Waterstone's did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Gordon is not the first blogger to have found himself without a job after writing about an employer.

Ellen Simonetti, formerly an air hostess for Delta Airlines, was fired after management saw pictures of her posing in her uniform on her Web site. Jessica Cutler -- the now infamous Washingtonienne -- was also sacked from her job in a Senator's office for the content of her blog.

The blogging phenomenon is growing rapidly. A report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found readership of blogs increased by 58 per cent last year and seven per cent of adults have their own blog.

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