Facebook not Required to Snitch on Employee Seeking Worker's Comp

September 16, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The deputy commissioner of the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission has ruled that the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act prohibits Facebook Inc. from complying with a subpoena for documents related to an injured worker's activities posted on its Web site.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the commission ordered on August 28 that Facebook be fined $200 a day for failing to comply with the subpoena. “There are federal statutes that, in our opinion, prohibit us from releasing the information they request,” said Barry Schnitt, Facebook’s director of policy communications, according to the news report.

Other news reports say the subpoena was the Colgan Air’s attempt to obtain vacation photos of Shana L.Hensley that would counter her workers’ comp claim.

Meanwhile, Hensley’s attorney said Hensley is willing to allow her former employer access to her Facebook activities. Hensley has 10 days to either give her signed consent for the information’s release or decline to do so.

The flight attendant with the regional airline says she injured her back in January 2007 when she tripped and fell exiting her plane at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport.