Teen's Facebook brag costs dad $80,000 lawsuit settlement

  • 1 March 2014
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A photo of Facebook's sign-up page.
Some things are better left unposted

When Dana Snay learned her father had been awarded a cash settlement in an age-discrimination lawsuit against his former employer, the Miami-based Gulliver Preparatory School, she couldn't resist bragging about it.

"Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver," the teen posted to her 1,200 Facebook friends. "Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT."

It was a bit of boasting that could end up costing the Snays the entire $80,000 (£47,750) settlement, reports the Miami Herald.

When Gulliver got wind of post, which didn't take long, as Dana was a former student, the school refused to pay a dime because the father had signed a confidentiality agreement - and on Wednesday a Florida appeals court found in its favour.

The story has writers drawing conclusions about the foolishness of today's youth and the perils of social media.

Elie Mystal on the blog Above the Law calls it "a new low for the Millennial generation".

"Remember when all you had to worry about was your daughter posting naked selfies of herself on Facebook?" he writes. "Now, things are worse."

Slate's Katy Waldman has a message for her contemporaries:

What can we learn from their misfortune, fellow millennials? Do not boast. Do not mess with attorneys. Do not over-share on social media, especially when you're not even going on a European vacation. (Snay was joking.)

The story isn't necessarily over, however.

The father can appeal the ruling to the Florida Supreme Court. Of course, the longer this drags on, the more of that settlement money will likely be eaten up by lawyers.

The hypothetical European vacation may end up becoming a long weekend in Key West - assuming the daughter isn't grounded for life.

Eric B Meyer of the Employer Handbook blog takes a closer look at the applicable law.

"Honestly, I'm surprised that the court enforced such a large penalty provision in the settlement agreement," he writes. "But, then again, the violation - broadcasting the existence of the agreement to 1200 people - is fairly egregious."

He concludes: "That's why, when I draft a settlement agreement, I often include confidentiality language warning that keeping quiet about the agreement means shutting your yap and your social media fingers."

So "confidentiality" means not telling anyone, including your friend, Mr Facebook. Good tip.