A picture is worth a thousand words, and in the case of Nathalie Blanchard of Quebec, Canada, it can also be worth thousands of dollars in lost benefits. The 29-year-old IBM employee, diagnosed with severe depression, spent more than a year and a half away from her job, during which she received paid sick leave from Manulife, IBM’s insurance company. At the suggestion of her doctor, Blanchard went on short vacations to try to improve her mental state while still out from work. These trips seemed to do the trick, for Blanchard was shown having a good time in the photos she posted on her Facebook page, including ones at Chippendale’s and on the beach. In October she noticed that her sick-leave payments stopped coming. That’s because, she alleges, her agent at Manulife saw the images and concluded that Blanchard was no longer depressed.
Manulife declined to comment on the incident but said in a statement that "we would not deny or terminate a valid claim solely based on information published on websites such as Facebook."
But the company did recognize that it uses such information to learn more about their clients.
A technology expert says that's the lesson people should learn from the case of a Canadian woman who says her Facebook postings led to her disability benefits being cancelled.