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With Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we do not lack for forums to share all of our troubles and joys with the world. Got injured at work? Post it on Facebook or Twitter. The stream of well wishing comments and commiserations will make you feel better. Or will it?
People have been fired for discussing work online. Thirteen Virgin Atlantic crew members were fired for insulting passengers and criticizing the company's sanitation and safety standards on Facebook. A California Pizza Kitchen server was fired for criticizing the company's new uniforms on its corporate Twitter account. A young woman was fired for a twitter post before she even started working. Obviously, your actions on social media can get you in trouble at work.
So, should you think twice about discussing your workers' compensation claim on Facebook?
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects employees rights to discuss pay and compensation and other work-related issues with each other. The employer cannot have a policy prohibiting these discussions among its employees. If you are fired for talking about pay, you can file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. If successful you could receive back pay and your job back.
In the same principle, there's nothing stopping you from discussing your workers' compensation claim, be it with another person face to face or online.
Just because employers can't prohibit you from discussing your workers' compensation claims online, it doesn't mean you should post anything and everything willy-nilly. Employers and insurance investigators can use what you post on social media against you and deny your workers' comp claim. Did you claim to have a back injury so bad that you have to miss work? Then, what are you doing skiing in Vail on a Tuesday?
For example, a woman claiming worker's compensation benefits for depression lost her benefits after posting pictures of her vacation on Facebook. The insurance company paying the benefits claims that the Facebook photos show that she's happy, having fun, and no longer depressed. So, she can return to work. While the insurance company claims that the decision to end her benefits weren't based solely on the Facebook pictures, they probably did cause the company to take a second look into her claim.
While legally, you can post about your workers' comp claim on Facebook and Twitter, just be very, very careful about what you do post. If a Facebook post does cause you to lose your workers' compensation benefits, an experienced workers' compensation attorney may be able to help.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.