Yes, Disclosures On Social Media Are Still Disclosures

by Cozen O'Connor
Contact

You can’t make this stuff up.

Have you read this one? I can’t blame you if you haven’t. Between the serious and tragic stories dominating the news from Malaysia and Russia, this little employment law nugget snuck into the newsroom. Put simply, baby girl’s typing fingers ultimately cost daddy $80,000.

I’m Getting Some New Money

The former headmaster of a Florida preparatory school had started an age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against his former employer. The parties settled the lawsuit, and the school paid various sums to its former employee, including an $80,000 payment. The settlement agreement contained a confidentiality provision, which provided that the employee could not disclose the existence or terms of the settlement agreement to anyone “except his attorneys or other professional advisors or spouse.”

I’m Getting A Nice Vacation With My New Money

The former headmaster is also a father, and daddy has a college-age daughter who clearly is not “his attorneys or other professional advisors or spouse.” Yet, the daughter posted the following on Facebook immediately after daddy’s settlement agreement was signed: “Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. Suck it.”

Woops.

There Goes My New Money

The school notified daddy employee that he had breached the settlement agreement based on his daughter’s Facebook post, and also informed his attorney that the school would pay the attorneys’ fee portion of the settlement but not the payment that had been allocated for daddy employee. So daddy employee filed papers with the court to enforce the settlement agreement’s payment obligation, which resulted in a whole hearing being held in court, and which then resulted in the court determining that daddy employee’s comments to his daughter, and his daughter’s Facebook post, did not constitute a violation of the confidentiality provision.

But the Florida appellate court felt differently, noting at the top of its decision on appeal: “The school maintains Snay is precluded from enforcing the agreement because he violated a material term, the non-disclosure clause, when he disclosed to his daughter that his case against Gulliver was settled and he was happy with the result. We agree with the school[.]” Noting that the Facebook post served to communicate the settlement to the daughter’s 1200 friends, the court ended its decision as it started:

“[B]efore the ink was dry on the agreement, and notwithstanding the clear language of section 13 mandating confidentiality, Snay violated the agreement by doing exactly what he had promised not to do. His daughter then did precisely what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent, advertising to the Gulliver community that Snay had been successful in his age discrimination and retaliation case against the school.”

Employer Take Away: What should you as an employer take away from this development?   

I’m going to try something different today, and give some takeaways to both sides; your company, as well as your employees:

            1.         Employer --> Make sure any settlement agreements have a confidentiality provision, make sure they limit precisely who can learn information about the settlement, and consider even making an express reference to social media.

            2.         Parent/Employee --> You really need to tell your kids about your settlement?

            3.         Employer --> Monitor compliance with your settlement agreement, as you are likely giving significant monetary consideration in exchange for, among other things, um, quiet.

            4.         Parent/Employee --> If the answer to # 2 above is “yes,” tell your kids to keep their mouths shut about mommy’s and daddy’s work, and to go back to using social media for the purpose of their ridiculous selfies.

            5.         Employer --> Social media impacts everything when it comes to your employees, from hire to fire (and even beyond). Make sure the applicable social media implications and risks are considered and addressed in all of your actions and documents.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Cozen O'Connor | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Cozen O'Connor
Contact
more
less

Cozen O'Connor on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!