Patrick Snay, the 69-year-old former head of Gulliver Preparatory School in Florida, filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the school when his contract wasn’t renewed in 2011. Snay and the school reached a settlement agreement for $80,000, plus $10,000 in backpay and $60,000 for Snay’s attorney. The deal looked to be in the clear – until Snay’s daughter bragged about it on Facebook.
His daughter wrote: “Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.” The girl had over 1,200 Facebook friends, many of whom attend Gulliver, and the message soon reached the higher-ups at the school. The Facebook post had violated the confidentiality agreement in the $80,000 settlement, and the deal was revoked, meaning none of the money was paid out.
While this case obviously had massive financial ramifications that most average Facebook users don’t have to worry about, there’s still a moral to the story: be careful what you say online. You never know who might see what you post, and it can be tough to predict the potential impact of what you write. Dashing off a quick post on Facebook is the easiest thing in the world to do, but taking it back is virtually impossible. The courts have found that Facebook is a public forum and even something you post privately to just your friends can come back to haunt you.