When staffers mock your company online, what do you do?

An American Airlines flight attendant is in trouble for posting videos that ridicule his employer. It’s a situation that lots of companies could eventually face.

The flight attendant’s videos aren’t the only ones online that criticize American, and the airline’s not the only company whose employees have turned to YouTube and other spots on the Web. Last fall, Starbucks fired a California barista for a song he posted about bad days and annoying customers. In summer 2010, a Best Buy employee who made videos on the site Xtranormal about mobile phones ended up indefinitely suspended. Even U.S. representatives aren’t immune to the phenomenon.

Disciplining employees who badmouth or ridicule their employers online can be a tricky proposition, says Gerald Baron, principal at Agincourt Strategies.

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