When you think about the “sexy” kinds of employment-related claims, you tend to think first about discrimination, harassment, and perhaps even trade secret disclosure cases. You don’t typically think about workers’ compensation claims. But even workers’ comp cases can have a significant impact on your company’s bottom line, and it might be worth considering how social media can provide value to your response to workers’ comp claims.
We have previously posted thoughts on the various ways in which social networking sites, blogs, and other forms of social media can serve a useful role in litigation generally. A new article to be published in the Pace University Law Review provides an illustrative discussion on the influence that social media has, and will likely continue to have, specifically in the workers’ compensation scheme. Authored jointly by Jacyln S. Millner, Esq. and Professor Gregory M. Duhl, this article succinctly identifies the “crossroads” of social networking and workers’ compensation law through an analysis of social media’s impact on four components of the workers’ compensation process: discovery, attorney professional responsibility, privacy, and evidentiary rules.
The point made is, again, not that workers’ compensation law and procedure have itself changed in this new social media world, but that social media has transformed the way in which traditional workers’ comp claims will proceed. As if workers’ comp claims are the experimental guinea pigs, the authors conclude that “workers’ compensation is an ideal area of law for lawyers and judges to experiment with how to address some of the unique challenges and opportunities that social networking poses in litigation.”
Employer Take Away: What should you as an employer take away from this development?
(1) Continue to recognize the value that social media can provide in the defense of all litigation claims, even the less “sexy” claims such as workers’ compensation.
(2) Once information is obtained about an employee claimant, take care in determining strategically how best to use the information in your litigation, and how best to educate and persuade your judge, arbitrator, or administrative law judge that the social media source of your information is both reliable and relevant.