Employee posts and social media are often a bad mix. A registered nurse who posted pictures of her vacation in Mexico while on medical leave for a back injury certainly has learned as much.
Family and Medical Leave Act
Carol Lineberry was a registered nurse with the Detroit Medical Center. She suffered a back injury while working in January 2011. On doctor's orders, she was granted a three month leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
While on leave, Lineberry went on a pre-paid vacation to Mexico. In a subsequent wrongful termination lawsuit, the Honorable Lawrence P. Zatkoff dismissed the case citing evidence that can only be described as humorous in a final ruling published February 5, 2013.
Social Media Strikes Again
While in Mexico, Lineberry posted photos to her Facebook page. The same page she had welcomed many of her co-workers to as friends. The photos showed the nurse riding in a motor boat, holding two children in her arms while standing and lying on her side while holding up multiple beer bottles.
All while suffering from a back injury.
Upon returning to Detroit, Lineberry complained by email to her superiors that she had not received a get well card. She was told no get well card was on the way given the vacation photos and the fact she had been able to handle two separate four hour flights and standing in line for customs.
Sensing trouble, Lineberry told supervisors she used a wheelchair while in the airports on the way to Mexico and returning home. When deposed and reminded airports have security cameras, she admitted to lying about the wheelchair.
The lesson of the Lineberry case is simple. Anything you post to a social media account is public fodder. One should always keep this in mind.