On FMLA? Better Not Post Those Vacation Photos…

Lineberry v. Richards , E.D. Mich., No. 2:11-cv-13752-LPZ-MKM, 02/05/13


An RN was terminated upon her return from FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) leave for “dishonesty” when photos she posted on Facebook surfaced. She went on leave in the middle of winter, and posted photos of herself and her family vacationing in Mexico during that time. When she went on leave, her employer did know she had the vacation planned – and that she intended to use a wheelchair and was going to “take it easy.” Her physician indicated that the vacation would be more restful than her job, and would not interfere in her recovery. When she admitted to co-workers that she had not, in fact, used a wheelchair during her vacation (and admitted, apparently, that she lied to someone at the employer’s offices about having used a wheelchair), the company terminated her.

It sounded distinctly like the posting of photos during leave upset her co-workers, which prompted them to question her, which prompted her to lie (at least initially, and then admit lying). Maybe she would have been better off not posting at all. After all, it wasn’t the vacation itself that prompted her termination – it sounds like others felt she was “throwing it in their faces.” That Facebook Envy will get you every time…

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