Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Insurance company pulls disability benefits over Facebook photo

A Canadian woman has lost her disability benefits because of photos pasted on Facebook. has the details:

A Canadian woman on sick leave for depression said Monday she would fight an insurance company's decision to cut her benefits after her agent found photos on Facebook of her vacationing, at a bar and at a party. Nathalie Blanchard said Monday she was diagnosed with major depression and was receiving monthly sick-leave benefits until payments dried up this fall. When Blanchard called her insurance provider, Manulife, to find out why, she says she was told the Facebook photos showed she was able to work.

This story raises some practical tips for employers. There is a wealth of information about employees publicly available on the internet. Having said that, such information must be accessed and used responsibly. Employers should avoid using surreptitious means to access employees’ social networking. Also, employers should guard against the use of any protected information. For example, medical information could lead to an ADA claim, regardless of whether the employee voluntarily put that information on the web for the world to see.

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