Monday, July 16, 2012

Employees Fired for Inappropriate Posts on Facebook

Scramblogs | The Official Scrambls Blog

Robert Sumien worked for CareFlite as an emergency medical technician. Sumien and his ambulance partner, Jan Roberts, were dismissed by CareFlite for comments posted on Robert's Facebook wall. Sumien sued CareFlite for unlawful termination, intrusion upon seclusion, and public disclosure of private facts. A trial court dismissed all of Sumien's claims, but he appealed the judgement against his intrusion upon seclusion claim, arguing that his comment was protected against disclosure, that an employer cannot terminate employees for engaging in workplace-related discussions on Facebook, and that he did not realize his comments were visible to Roberts's Facebook friends.

Intrusion upon seclusion is defined as "One who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns, is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person." Applying this standard, a district court of appeals found that Sumian did not produce "more than a scintilla of evidence" that CareFlite had intentionally intruded upon his seclusion. In other words, ignorance of Facebook's privacy settings is not a strong defense.

Scrambls puts simple privacy controls in the hands of the user. Unless you decide to add someone to a group and share with them, they can't read your posts, even if the site allows them access to a page that you thought was private. If you want a simple privacy solution for Facebook install scrambls today.

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