FRIEND REQUEST, POKE AND LIKE
If you know the above terms, you are included in the number of railroaders using Facebook.
In Straight Track - Tangled in the Net, Hoey & Farina discussed how a railroader’s use of this technology could affect his employment with the railroad and his Federal Employers’ Liability Act ("FELA") injury claim. In this article, Hoey & Farina will offer more in-depth information on how to protect your job and your FELA claim while using Facebook.
By default, your Facebook account is ‘Public’ and everyone (even your employer) can view your wall, photos, info, etc. Your setting should be set to “Friends” and you should know your Friends.
Also, playing games, entering contests, etc., on Facebook automatically authorizes apps to interact with your Facebook account. You can and should monitor these apps.
To change / monitor your security settings, log into your Facebook account, click on the down arrow located near the upper right of your screen and select Privacy Settings. Under Control Your Default Privacy you can select “Friends” and under Apps & Websites you can click on the X to monitor / delete any apps.
‘HE HAS NO FILTER’
Have you ever heard the expression that somebody doesn’t have a filter - he just says anything? You must have a filter on Facebook. Friends can share your postings with others. And other people can share your posts with other people.
And, your Facebook records, which includes posts, personal messages and chats with Friends, can and will be subpoenaed in litigation matters such as an FELA injury claim.
This is very important for several reasons.
First, posting anything derogatory concerning your employer, supervisors, etc., or what the railroad may call privileged / confidential corporate information could result in disciplinary action by your employer. Railroaders have been terminated for such postings on Facebook.
Second, posting anything while you are at work could also result in disciplinary action by the railroad as it may be against FRA and railroad rules to be on your cell phone at work.
Third, with regards to a personal injury claim, if you are not able to work because of specific job restrictions, but post that you did something outside your restrictions – you may have compromised the value of your FELA claim.
For example, you are unable to work because of an injury and your doctor gives you a lifting restriction of 10 pounds. However, you post on Facebook a status, “There should be a limit on how many times the same friend can ask you to help move in one year. Third floor…no elevator…not enough beer to cover that dept!” You can’t work because of your restrictions, but help move a friend? This is the kind of information the railroad’s attorneys will share with a jury after having subpoenaed your Facebook records. How do you think a jury will respond to this information?
KEEP UP WITH TECHNOLOGY AND STAY INFORMED
Hoey & Farina will continue to provide updates on Facebook and other technology related matters that affect railroaders. Please share your questions, comments or stories on these issues or other FELA matters with Hoey & Farina at 888-425-1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org.