Georgia WC Court Ordered Search of Claimant's Personal Computer

In our December 2009 article (“Facebook Postings: Proof of Condition”) we reported the Canadian case where a woman’s Facebook postings were relied upon to disqualify her for benefits. In this issue, we provide the story of of Jacob Bancroft, whose MySpace pictures were used to convict him of fraud. In Georgia, the state Workers’ Compensation Board has ruled to allow defense counsel to introduce Facebook and MySpace ‘status updates’ and pictures to challenge the disability claims of employees.

Taking it one step further, one Georgia employer demanded that an employee respond to a ‘production of documents’ request that required the claimant to turn over his personal computer to the employer. The insurance company argued that the claimant’s hard drive would reveal “photos, evidence of work or physical activity.”

The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Board ruled that the computer must be turned over to the insurance company. We are not aware of any other jurisdiction allowing such discovery.

Greg Lois is the managing partner of LOIS LLC, a 19-attorney law firm dedicated to defending employers and carriers in New York and New Jersey workers' compensation claims. Greg is the author of a popular series of "Handbooks" on workers' compensation, and is the co-author of the 2016 Lexis-Nexis New Jersey Workers' Compensation Practice Guide. Greg can be reached at 201-880-7213 or glois@lois-llc.com