Can your client socially erase "emotional distress" w/ a happy Facebook post?

Posted on 07-09-2015 by
Tags: social media , Trending News & Topics , Labor & Employment , Employment Law

I was always taught as a child growing up to “never judge a book by a cover” and that should be the case, however I guess parents of this generation should a line of fine print that says “unless you are in court.” According to Slate, appearing to be happy Facebook can be used against you in court.

In one case in 2011 in Burbank, California, a former general manager of Home Depot sued the company for gender discrimination. She claimed she was wrongly fired and experienced anguish, anxiety, and isolation from friends as a result. Home Depot visited her Facebook page to find numerous posts on her wall wishing her a happy birthday. Home Depot posed the following question:

Would a truly isolated woman get so many birthday wishes on Facebook?

The case would eventually be settled out of court.

Katy Waldman, a writer at Slate, points out in a 2012 post by her that users don’t like people who post negative things. Taking this into account, one could gather that users posting mostly positive might actually be hurting inside, but putting a façade on so they’ll be more liked. Jeffrey Hancock, a professor in the information science department at Cornell University, this behavior is not all that unusual.

If you think about how we present ourselves in ‘real life,’ when we talk to people, we talk about the good times we’re having and the good feelings we’re feeling.

While Hancock makes a valid point, some courts are not so quick to jump on that bandwagon. In a Canadian case in 2000, Fotini Kourtesis sued a man who rear-ended her car. Kourtesis claimed the accident left her with chronic pain and a loss of enjoyment of life. The court would find Facebook photos of “her dancing and being lifted into the air by her brother, post-accident”. She would go onto claim that the photos were posed, however that didn’t mean anything to the judge. The judge ruled that “even if posed, the photographs were taken in an active social life setting” and that the evidence shows that Kourtesis “enjoys life.

It’s hard to know what is really going on with someone on the inside which makes situations like these tricky and controversial. It seems like parents of newer generations will have to teach them new sayings because this proves that some do judge a book by their cover.

What do you think?

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Posted on : 10 Jul 2015 5:49 AM

Appearing to be happy may not mean that the person is happy! And when it comes to birthday wishes on facebook, even acquaintances wish people! Therefore for me it doesn't make any sense!

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