How your employer can use Facebook against you

Michigan work accident lawyer shows how your employer can use Facebook to stop the payment of workers compensation benefits.

USA Today has been reporting on a growing number of employers who are requiring job seekers to give up their Facebook username and password. This allows an employer to examine the personal life of an applicant before extending a job offer. Legislation to combat this practice has been introduced at both the state and federal level.

It turns out that employers demanding Facebook usernames and passwords extends beyond just new hires. The Huffington Post reports on Kimberly Hester, a teacher’s aide in Michigan, who is facing this problem head-on.

Hester was asked to give up her Facebook password after a parent complained about a picture posted on her page. When Hester refused, the school district wrote to her stating that “we will assume the worst and act accordingly.” Hester, who was apparently receiving workers compensation benefits, was then placed on unpaid leave.

Fired for breaking a company rule

Recent changes to Michigan’s workers compensation law allow an employer to stop the payment of wage loss benefits if an employee is terminated for fault. What constitutes “fault” is not defined in the statute. This means that a disabled employee could find their wage loss benefits stopped just because of a violation of a company rule or policy.

An employer should not be allowed to discontinue workers compensation benefits just because an individual refused to disclose private information in violation of a company policy. Failure to give up a Facebook password is no reason to take away a person’s legal right to workers compensation benefits.

What about other requests for personal information? Can an employer request bank account information to see if an employee has financial problems? What about getting a list of library books to see if an employee has incompatible religious or political beliefs? Should entitlement to workers compensation benefits depend upon whether a person hands over his or her cell phone bill?

Activities check

Facebook is already being used to dispute workers compensation claims. Investigators hired by employers and insurance companies are examining social media websites looking for incriminating pictures, videos, or comments.

These items are frequently taken out-of-context and will be used to stop the payment of workers compensation benefits. We have even seen some insurance adjusters make snap decisions about claims based upon what is posted on Facebook. Even when the medical evidence supports payment of the claim.

If you believe your legal rights have been violated, get help from an experienced work accident lawyer. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today. There is no fee unless workers compensation benefits are recovered for you.

Alex Berman is the founder of Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers. He’s been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Alex has helped countless people obtain workers compensation benefits and never charges a fee to evaluate a case.

Related information:

Injured On The Job: A Guide to Michigan Workers’ Compensation Law (Free Book)

FAQs about workers compensation to help protect you

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, codemastersnake.

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