Poster Beware

Poster Beware

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) requires covered employers to provide employees unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons.  However, courts have increasingly dismissed FMLA claims on grounds of an employer’s honest belief that the employee has committed fraud.

 In a recent FMLA case, Jaszczyszyn v. Advantage Health Physician Network, the Sixth Circuit dismissed plaintiff Jaszczyszyn’s claims after the supposedly incapacitated Jaszczyszyn posted pictures of herself drinking at a Polish Cultural Festival on her Facebook page.  The pictures were turned over to Jaszczyszyn’s supervisor by angered co-workers, who were forced to cover for her during her sick leave. Jaszczyszyn’s supervisor proceeded to conduct an investigation into the activity, which resulted in Jaszczyszyn’s termination.

 This case is yet another example of the important role that social media is playing in litigation.  As courts have interpreted the FMLA to allow for termination based on an “honest belief” that the employee had committed fraud, more employers are turning to sites like Facebook to investigate their employee’s claims.

 For further discussion of the implications of this case and a link to the Sixth Circuit’s opinion, click here: Facebook Pictures of Employee Socializing at Local Festival Drown Her FMLA Claims.