Natalie Blanchard, 29-year-old IBM employee from Bromont, Quebec, has been denied sick benefits by Manulife Financial after posting photographs on Facebook.
Blanchard was suffering from depression and took sick leave, with sick leave benefits from Manulife Financial. The insurer claimed that it had seen photos of Blanchard enjoying herself and looking cheerful on her Facebook page and stopped her monthly payments on the basis that she was no longer depressed. It is reported that the photos show her attending a Chippendales show, attending a birthday party, and on a beach holiday. In her defence, Blanchard has stated she went on three trips after consulting with her psychiatrist.
Manulife has confirmed it uses social networking sites to check up on people making claims, but, of course, can’t comment on a specific case.
While it is difficult to judge the merits of this particular case, it’s clear that anyone with a personal injury claim should think very carefully about publishing photographs that are open to misinterpretation or even misuse.