Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Can Your Facebook Photos Cost You Your Insurance Benefits?

A 29-year-old Canadian women who was on long-term sick leave from her job, stopped receiving insurance benefit checks after she posted some photographs on her Facebook page. According to the news, Natalie Blanchard who used to work at IBM's Bromont, Quebec office, was diagnosed with major depression and placed on sick leave a year ago. She was receiving monthly sick leave benfits from Manulife.

Soon after Blanchard posted her vacation photos on her Facebook account, she noticed she is no longer receiving her insurance benefit checks. When Blanchard contacted the insurance office, her insurance agent referred to her vacation photos saying she is no longer depressed and should be able to return to work. The photos showed Blanchard having fun at her birthday party, and at a Chippendales bar show.

Thomas Lavin, Blanchard's attorney is threatening legal action against Manulife and IBM, saying Blanchard went on vacation based on her doctor's orders. Lavin complains that the insurance company stopped his client's benefits without proper notice to her, and his client has been constructively terminated from her employment.

The materials for this blog are based on articles in ABC News and The Washington Post. For additional information, run a search on Google.

Robin Mashal is a partner at the law firm of Hong & Mashal LLP. He can be reached at (310) 286-2000.

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