In this real-life court case, a worker suffered an injury in a facility’s warehouse. He sued the company for damages, but the company found photos on his Facebook page that could prove he was exaggerating his injury.
The circumstances: A subcontractor injured his leg while driving a forklift in a company’s warehouse. He sued the company and said he was still in pain and was embarrassed to wear shorts because of his scar. But the company found public Facebook photos where the worker was riding a motorcycle and wearing shorts after the injury. The company wanted the court to grant it access to the worker’s private Facebook photos.
The company’s argument: These photos prove that the worker is exaggerating his injury — they show him wearing shorts and riding a motorcycle. He voluntarily uploaded the photos, so the court should allow the company to use them in the case.
The employee’s argument: The company has no right to access these photos. Doing so would be an invasion of privacy.
What the judge said: The company can access the photos. The worker posted them voluntarily, and information from the Internet is fair game in today’s society. Because the public photos suggested the worker may be lying about his injury, the court ordered Facebook to provide the company with the private photos.
Analysis: Investigating workers’ injury claims is easier than it used to be. If you suspect workers are lying or exaggerating about injuries, resources like Facebook and Twitter can be a useful resource to check on their claims.