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Social Media May Be Used Against Workers' Compensation Recipients

Colorado workers compensation is a system that provides financial support to almost anyone who has been injured on the job. In exchange for this privilege, however, workers who receive compensation while they are out of work due to injury must be up front about the extent of their injuries.

Employers and the investigative firms they hire may probe whether a worker's injury claim is authentic. While most workers who claim a back injury, for instance, don't run out of the house to go waterskiing, they might innocently post a picture of themselves having fun on Facebook.

The problem arises when that fun picture makes it appear that the injured worker is not so injured. The picture may even be an inaccurate representation of what the worker was doing.

Increase in Social Media Investigations

Regardless of the fairness of the technique, more and more employers are investigating the activities of injured workers through social media. Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and other social media platforms can provide more information than a worker might realize.

Workers should be careful about what they post; which privacy selections they choose; and whose "friend" requests they accept. Although it may be a violation of attorney ethics under the rules of the Colorado Supreme Court Attorney Regulation Counsel, some attorneys who represent employers could use social media to get close to workers who have filed workers' comp claims. Companies that investigate employee claims may do the same.

Potentially Harmful Information

The types of information that could affect an employee's workers compensation claim include anything that contradicts the employee's injury report - or merely appears to contradict it. Typically, this would be physical activity that the injured worker would not be expected to do, like lifting a heavy item or participating in a sport.

Employees should be wary of posting information that could send the wrong signal. They should avoid photos of themselves engaging in strenuous activity or activity that shows them doing anything their injury should prevent. Some photos can be deceiving, so even an innocent picture could convey the wrong information.

Injured workers should not make status updates about activities that could be interpreted to mean that they are not truly injured. They should also keep tabs on their friends' social media activity, letting them know that it is not appropriate to post such material.

Workers who have been injured should speak with an experienced Colorado workers compensation attorney. It is important for employees to protect the rights and privileges to which they are entitled.