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January 09, 2005

Grave Disrepute

It appears that the managers at Waterstone's in Edinburgh are trying to commit gross misconduct and to bring their company into grave disrepute:

The Woolamaloo Gazette: ...I was told that for comments I had posted on this web site I was now subject to an enquiry to determine if I should face a disciplinary hearing for ‘gross misconduct’ because I had ‘brought the company into disrepute’. I was informed (more than once) that this could cause my dismissal. I was suspended on pay and escorted from the premises of the bookstore I had worked in for eleven years. Because of the holidays the disciplinary hearing was not held until yesterday, Wednesday 5th. I could not really talk about it here while the process was ongoing – I am now free to discuss what happened for the brutally simple reason that Waterstone’s dismissed me from my job yesterday. They took great exception to my mentioning of work on my blog...

It will be interesting to see how grave the managers' misconduct was, and how gross the disrepute it brings to Waterstone's will be. It depends on how aggressive online Britain is, and who in the print media picks up the story...

Posted by DeLong at January 9, 2005 04:39 PM

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Emailing the store in question and asking for an explanation might generate publicity if enough people do it. The address for the store in question is :


Any other ideas? This is almost a local store for me - it's right by a station I regularly travel to, even though I live a few miles away.

Posted by: Alexei McDonald at January 9, 2005 05:47 PM

I've sent an email to onlineenquires@waterstones.co.uk , for the attention of their PR department. I've spend a couple of grand at Waterstones, because of the good company image that is, apparently, merely a leftover from the Tim Waterstone era. I told them I won't be spending any more there.

Posted by: Keith at January 10, 2005 04:28 AM

Public printed references to Waterstones as "Bastardstones" qualify as a firing offense to me. If I did the same to my employer, I would expect no less.

Posted by: Dennis Doubleday at January 10, 2005 07:11 AM

It almost makes one wish there were laws governing employment in the United States.

Well, there are some. They just do not work as a rule, and when people try to get them to do so often end up with the former employee now the current unemployable.

If people aren't free to criticize an employer off the job, Dennis, hasn't the employer in effect pre-empted their right to speak?

Where does it stop? Does having a Kerry bumpersticker amount to a firing offense? It did in one case we know of. Did you know that some companies refuse to employ people who aren't fundamentalists? Losing one's enthusiasm for Christianity can be a firing offense.

The Unites States' employment policy is completely insane.

Posted by: Charles at January 10, 2005 12:06 PM

It seems that the public backfiring has started:


Posted by: Håkon at January 12, 2005 01:29 AM

In any contract of employment there are clauses that forbid an employee from bringing thier employer into disrepute in a public forum, a blog is a public forum. If the person in question whished to satarize thier employer they should have resigned first.

[And the managers of Waterstone's Edinburgh, who have brought their employer into grave disrepute in a much bigger public forum than just one weblog?]

Posted by: John at January 12, 2005 10:10 AM

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