Sunday, February 17, 2013

Facebook With Care

Hopefully most of us realize that we need to be careful with what we post on Facebook.  That is especially true if you "friend" your co-workers or boss. If you do mix work with Facebook that carelessly posted status or photo could come back to haunt you. It could even cost you your job and defeat your wrongful firing lawsuit.
In a recent case, Lineberry v. Richards, a nurse (Lineberry) requested time off from the hospital she worked at due to severe lower back pain. Her FMLA leave was granted. Shortly into her leave, she took a pre-planned vacation to Mexico and posted photos of her stay on her FaceBook page. These photos showcased her in positions that would be painful for someone experiencing severe lower back pain. When her co-workers saw the photos, they complained to their supervisor (Richards). The hospital then began an investigation, in the course of which they discovered that Lineberry had lied to them about the circumstances of the FMLA leave. The investigation concluded with Lineberry being terminated after her leave. Lineberry then sued Richards and other defendants alleging an FMLA violation. The defendant's for summary judgment, which was granted and the lawsuit was dismissed. 
The FMLA provides covered employees with up to 12 weeks of leave (more for those caring for service members) for certain family and medical reasons. If you take FMLA leave, it is not to be treated as a 'free pass' or a vacation and it should not be abused.  Misuse of you FMLA leave could lead to termination of your employment.
  1. Do not lie to your employer when you request leave under the FMLA.
  2. Do not post incriminating photographs on your FaceBook page.
To take a closer look at the Lineberry v. Richards case, click here.

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