Depressed worker loses LTD benefits because of Facebook photos

Insurance agent saw photos of employee at a bar and on vacation

Facebook photos have cost an IBM employee her long-term sick leave benefits.

Nathalie Blanchard, who worked for IBM in Bromont, Que., had been on long-term disability for the past year and a half after being diagnosed with major depression.

But when a Manulife insurance agent discovered photos of Blanchard at a Chippendales bar, at a birthday party and on vacation, the insurance company cut off her sick-leave payments.

Blanchard said she was following her doctor's advice to try and have fun but the agent told her the photos prove she is no longer depressed.

Her lawyer said Facebook isn't an appropriate tool to judge a person's mental state and he has requested another psychiatric evaluation for Blanchard, who is fighting to have her benefits reinstated.

In a written statement to the CBC, Manulife said: "We would not deny or terminate a valid claim solely based on information published on websites such as Facebook."

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