If you’re on depression leave, make sure you don’t post happy pictures on Facebook.
That’s the lesson a woman learned after her insurance provider withdrew her disability benefits after seeing “evidence” that she was no longer depressed.
Nathalie Blanchard was diagnosed with major depression and took a long-term sick leave from her job at IBM in Bromont, Quebec. She was receiving monthly benefits from her insurance company, Manulife.
According to 29-year old Canadian, when she called up the company to ask why the payments dried up, her insurance agent told her she was no longer depressed and cited pictures she posted on Facebook, including ones showing her enjoying a male strip-tease show at a Chippendales bar while celebrating her birthday.
Today, she said she would fight her insurance company’s decision. “This is a major battle and it’s not going to be easy,” she said in a telephone interview from her home.
Blanchard’s lawyer, Tom Lavin, said his client had the right to enjoy a vacation therefore was wrongfully dismissed from her benefits.
“The issue for me is that they stopped her disability benefits without the proper medical recommendations. Her doctor recommended she go on vacation,” he said.
When contacted, Manulife declined to comment on the incident. They did, however, release a statement saying “we would not deny or terminate a valid claim solely based on information published on websites such as Facebook.”
Nathalie Blanchard’s hearing will take place on December 8 before the Quebec Superior Court.