Since this story comes from Lowering the Bar, it’s got its amusing aspects.
Dad settles wrongful termination lawsuit against a school. Signs non-disclosure agreement. Daughter posts triumphal “SUCK IT” on Facebook, and Dad loses $80,000 of the $150,000 settlement.
As Lowering the Bar asks, when will people learn not to post everything on the internet? So this funny story becomes an expensive object lesson.
Here’s how the story begins:
When will people learn not to post confidential things on Facebook? Would it be wrong to hope the answer is “never”?
Here’s a short opinion (and a report from the Miami Herald) teaching not only that less Facebook is more but also that sometimes, the words in a contract mean exactly what they say. After Patrick Snay’s contract was not renewed by Gulliver Prep School, he sued for age discrimination. In November 2011, the parties settled. Gulliver agreed to pay $150,000. But $80,000 of that was conditioned on Snay’s agreement to keep the settlement confidential:
13. Confidentiality. . . [T]he plaintiff shall not either directly or indirectly, disclose, discuss or communicate to any entity or person, except his attorneys or other professional advisors or spouse any information whatsoever regarding the existence or terms of this Agreement. . . A breach . . . will result in disgorgement of the Plaintiff’s portion of the settlement Payments [the $80k].
That’s the first important quote. The second is this one, a “Facebook posting [by] Snay’s college-age daughter, wherein she stated:”
Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.
Oh dear. Worse, Baby Snay has about 1,200 Facebook friends, “many of whom were either current or past Gulliver students.”
Didn’t I once mention that when a non-disclosure clause says “you can’t disclose,” it means what it says? Yes. I’m sure I did.