Saturday, July 21, 2012

Facebook: Post Your Status, Get Then Fired

A Texas state Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of Robert Sumien's wrongful termination and intrusion upon seclusion lawsuit against CareFlite. Sumien was one of two employees terminated for making offensive work-related comments on Facebook. The sole issue on appeal was whether CareFlite had intentionally intruded upon seclusion. The court stated that an unwarranted intrusion upon seclusion is proven by showing (1) an intentional intrusion, physical or otherwise, upon another’s solitude, seclusion, or private affairs or concerns which (2) would be highly offensive to a reasonable person. Sumien failed to prove that CareFlite had intruded into his private affairs by viewing the comments he had posted on Facebook. Each of Sumien’s arguments failed because he did not directly address the issue of intrusion. For instance, Sumien argued that he misunderstood the privacy settings on Facebook and thus was not aware that CareFlite would be able to view the comments. The argument was irrelevant because he could not prove that his misunderstanding meant that CareFlite had intentionally invaded his privacy. The court concluded that “Sumien [had] not produce[d] more than a scintilla of probative evidence raising a genuine issue of material fact regarding his intrusion upon seclusion claim.” To read more on the case click here.

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