Breaking stupid: A hella-dumb Facebook invasion-of-privacy claim

From the state that just loves our sloppy seconds — out-of-work wide receiver who cries about a fumbling quarterback say, “What. It’s unfair. That’s my quarterback.” — comes this case about a Facebooking emergency medical technician from Texas.

To protect the innocent — in the event that you’ve yet to click on the case link — we’ll call the employee-plaintiff “Misguided.” Misguided the EMT was fired after posting on his co-worker’s Facebook wall about how he wanted to boot a ultimate fighter patient in the head.

Instead of just swallowing the bitter pill, Misguided sued his former employer for — get this — intrusion upon seclusion. (basically, an invasion of privacy).

Invasion of privacy on a co-worker’s Facebook page. And people wonder how I get material for this blog.

Feel me flow on this steaming pile after the jump…

Although we have discussed at least one situation in which an employee may have privacy rights in a Facebook posting, Misguided, here, claimed an invason of privacy for posting on his co-worker’s Facebook wall. That makes as much sense as a screen door on a submarine. Do I have a privacy interest in the graffiti tag on my neighbor’s wall?

The court straightened this out:

[Misguided] contends that CareFlite intruded upon his seclusion because he did not realize that Roberts’s Facebook “friends” could view the comment that he posted on Roberts’s “wall.” While [Misguided] presented evidence showing that he misunderstood Roberts’s Facebook settings, did not know who had access to Roberts’s “wall,” and did not know how CareFlite was able to view his comment, he did not present any evidence to show that his misunderstanding meant that CareFlite intentionally intruded upon his seclusion.

As discussed here last Friday, employers should take the opportunity to educate their workforce about Facebook privacy settings. Hopefully that will help to avoid situations such as the one above where employees — even the smart ones — claim not to understand Facebook’s privacy settings.

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