Depressed woman loses benefits over Facebook photos
A Quebec woman on long-term sick leave is fighting to have her benefits reinstated after her employer’s insurance company cut them, she says, because of photos posted on Facebook.
Nathalie Blanchard, shown here on a beach holiday during her sick leave. (Facebook)Nathalie Blanchard, 29, has been on leave from her job at IBM in Bromont, Que., for the last year and a half after she was diagnosed with major depression.
The Eastern Townships woman was receiving monthly sick-leave benefits from Manulife, her insurance company, but the payments dried up this fall.
When Blanchard called Manulife, the company said that "I’m available to work, because of Facebook," she told CBC News this week.
She said her insurance agent described several pictures Blanchard posted on the popular social networking site, including ones showing her having a good time at a Chippendales bar show, at her birthday party and on a sun holiday — evidence that she is no longer depressed, Manulife said.Blanchard said she notified Manulife that she was taking a trip, and she’s shocked the company would investigate her in such a manner and interpret her photos that way.
"In the moment I’m happy, but before and after I have the same problems" as before, she said.
Blanchard said that on her doctor’s advice, she tried to have fun, including nights out at her local bar with friends and short getaways to sun destinations, as a way to forget her problems.She also doesn’t understand how Manulife accessed her photos because her Facebook profile is locked and only people she approves can look at what she posts.
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