A few days ago, reports emerged that an insurance company terminated disability benefits because its Canadian female client was found smiling in Facebook pictures. Apparently, the woman, 29-year-old Nathalie Blanchard, was on sick leave for depression, and the images depicted her being happy and having fun while vacationing, at a bar and at a party.
Blanchard was originally diagnosed with severe depression, and was receiving monthly sick-leave benefits until the insurance company terminated the cash flow. Once the money halted, she called up the insurance company, only to discover that it deemed her able to work thanks to the Facebook photos. The insurance agent even described the photos--those from a Chippendales bar show, a birthday party, and more--and deemed her no longer depressed.
"If you have insurance, be careful," she said. "This is a major battle and it's not going to be easy." Indeed, she plans to battle the insurance company, enlisting lawyer Tom Lavin. The problem he immediately discovered was that the insurance terminated her disability benefits without the proper medical recommendations. In fact, it was her doctor who recommended that she go on vacation in the first place.
Lavin said that Facebook users should be careful about what they upload to the social networking site. "It's good warning for people who use Facebook," he said, referring to his client's case. "It's not like being at home and writing in your diary. It's out there for the whole world to see."
According to the AP, the case heads to the Quebec Superior Court on December 8th.
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