Facebook and … Workers’ Compensation?

by Karl Voigt
What does workers’ compensation have to do with Facebook? More and more, apparently!

As the world becomes more “linked in” and peoples’ online presences become more commonplace, employers are trying to use that presence against injured workers.

Workers’ Compensation insurers and employers are more and more attempting to use injured workers’ Facebook pages against their employees. Namely, they are trying to use photos and updates published on social networking sites to combat claims of disability.

One popular example involves a worker (not our client!) who claimed total disability, yet published evidence of his competition in bowling tournaments. Sure enough, an astute private investigator used his published schedule to follow him to a tournament where he videotaped the event, blending in with the other spectators. Of course, the video was used to disprove his claim the he couldn’t work.

Even if an investigator doesn’t find anything incriminating on the site, online photos can at least be used to positively identify a subject of real-world surveillance. Even more, if a user publishes his affiliation with an archery club, for example, an investigator can contact other members of the club for more information about any continued activities within the club

While none of our clients have anything to hide, we do suggest that you review your privacy settings. And also publish your Facebook entries considering the fact that ANYONE might read them. Know that anyone who has “friended” you may be able to access your photos and entries.

We don’t necessarily suggest that one “go dark” after a work injury but do, however, recommend minding the content one publishes to make sure it can’t be misinterpreted.

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