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Employee's settlement lost through Facebook post

A man in Florida who won obtained an $80,000 settlement agreement against his former employer has now forfeited the money because of his daughter’s post on a social media outlet. The man, a former private school executive, sued the school for age discrimination when his contract was not renewed. He and the school came to an agreement to settle his claim which would award him back pay as well as attorney’s fees.

However, the settlement included a confidentiality clause, which prohibited him from discussing the terms of the agreement with anyone except his lawyers and other professional advisors. 

Naturally, the man told his wife and daughter, but then his daughter, who is a current student at the school, posted a rant on her Facebook page blasting the school and teasing about how it was paying for her European vacation. Since she had 1,200 friends, word of the settlement spread like wildfire.

The school’s attorneys quickly moved to void the settlement. A trial court initially ruled that the daughter’s posting did not violate the terms of the agreement, but an appeals court disagreed. It held that the man did exactly what he promised not to do and that the result was exactly what the confidentiality agreement was designed to protect.

The story is a poignant example of why it is important for victorious employees in discrimination suits to adhere to the terms of a settlement agreement. Not only did the man lose the financial compensation that would be vital to his economic future, he also risks continued difficulty in finding a new job. 

Source: “Girl costs father $80,000 with ‘SUCK IT’ Facebook post,” Matthew Stucker, Mar. 4, 2014

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