On February 28, 2014, Yahoo published an article entitled “Daughter’s Facebook Brag Costs Her Family $80,000.” The title itself sounds horrifying, especially since most parents consistently question their children’s use of the famous social networking site. In this article, a Florida Headmaster settled an age-discrimination suit for $80,000, after being terminated at the age of 69. The settlement included a non-disclosure provision that prevented the plaintiff from speaking publicly about the case or the settlement amount. Little did the headmaster know, his daughter couldn’t resist putting up a Facebook status disclosing the fact that there was a settlement. With over one thousand friends, the daughter’s post went “viral” and was discovered by opposing counsel and the courts. The courts reversed the settlement and issued a ruling stating in part, “his [the headmaster’s] daughter… did precisely what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent.”
Furthermore, be weary of discussing certain matters in front of family members. Although, I am sure it with good intentions that the father in this article spoke to his daughter about the case, there are drawbacks to telling family members who don’t fully understand the importance of non-disclosure. Social media, as a whole, has taken the legal profession and the workplace to an entirely new arena: dissemination of personal information to a wide audience. Employees are cautioned to take steps to ensure maximum privacy on these sites, so are students applying to colleges and individuals reviewed for moral character and fitness.
Here are some easy steps you can take to ensure you don’t violate settlement agreements:
The bottom line: Don’t publish any information surrounding a lawsuit on social media. Non-disclosure means Facebook statuses are off limits!
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