Virginia Commission Vacates Facebook Fine in Workers’ Comp Dispute

By Staff Report

Sep. 17, 2009

An official of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has vacated a $200-per-day fine on Facebook for failing to reveal information from a subscriber’s account.

Virginia imposed the fine August 28 after Palo Alto, California-based Facebook Inc. did not respond to a workers’ comp defense attorney’s subpoena seeking information about an employee for Manassas, Virginia-based Colgan Air Inc., said Chief Deputy Commissioner James J. Szablewicz.

Facebook responded later and argued that the federal Electronics Communications Privacy Act prohibited it from responding to the subpoena.

A deputy commissioner agreed and vacated the $200-per-day fine, Szablewicz said. Facebook also argued that courts have ruled that the U.S. law prohibits social networking sites from revealing subscribers’ information—even in the face of a subpoena.

The case reportedly involved the airline’s attempt to obtain vacation photos of an employee to counter a workers’ comp claim for a back injury.

Filed by Roberto Ceniceros of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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