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Dennis's Mom
21-11-09, 16:21
This just in: teh internets aren't private.

Link (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2009/11/19/quebec-facebook-sick-leave-benefits.html)

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, 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.
Insurer confirms it uses Facebook

Her lawyer Tom Lavin said Manulife's investigation was inappropriate.

"I don't think for judging a mental state that Facebook is a very good tool," he said, adding that he has requested another psychiatric evaluation for Blanchard.

"It's not as if somebody had a broken back and there was a picture of them carrying …a load of bricks," Lavin said. "My client was diagnosed with a major depression. And there were pictures of her on Facebook, in a party or having a good time. It could be that she was just trying to escape."

Manulife wouldn't comment on Blanchard's case, but in a written statement sent to CBC News, the insurer said: "We would not deny or terminate a valid claim solely based on information published on websites such as Facebook." It confirmed that it uses the popular social networking site to investigate clients.

Insurance companies must weigh information found on such sites, said Claude Distasio, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association.

"We can't ignore it, wherever the source of the information is," she said. "We can't ignore it."

Blanchard estimated she’s lost thousands of dollars in benefits since Manulife changed her claim.


I have to say, her year and a half of "major depression" sounds like a scam. Major depression is debilitation to the point where you don't do things like go out with friends, go on vacation or have birthday parties or indeed post on Facebook talking out them. Depression is not that you have "problems." :rolleyes:

MrBear
21-11-09, 16:31
My initial thoughts are that whether she's having a depression isn't for neither you nor Manulife to decide; it's a delicate matter and we should leave it to the professional, the doctors. You could be right, of course, but we're only seeing a fragment of her situation here - not nearly enough, I think, for us to judge.

It's worrying, though, that a company has access to her pictures when she hasn't allowed such access. They're likely not the only ones.

Laralissa
21-11-09, 16:34
I have to say, having been diagnosed with deppression myself, I needed time off from work to relax and work through my problems. That included spending more time with friends and generally trying to have a good time, so despite the fact I couldnt take part the stresses of my job, it didnt mean I was going to stay in the house feeling even lonlier than I already was. Sometimes the best way to overcome deppression is to do things, simple as.

But it is a very fine line. Sometimes its hard to tell if someone is generally trying to take their mind off their deppression, or if theyre simply a lazy bugger who's perfectly fine and is skiving from work. Its difficult. But she should have known that even the most 'private' of pages online have ways of being seen.

digitizedboy
21-11-09, 16:44
what scares me is how the **** did they get hold of the information? Isn't facebook supposed to be this private site where you "invite" trusted people to access your page? I don't use it much myself, I don't like prying eyes.

And anyway, just because she's been spotted having "fun" on some photos, does this suggest that because she's suffering from depression she should be depressed 24/7 and not allowed to enjoy life whatsoever? I know there are people that fiddle the system, but like earlier mentioned, maybe this is something for the doctors to decide...

Greenkey2
21-11-09, 16:51
There is no possible way that an unbiased, informed judgement can be made on such circumstantial, insubstantial and yes, private, information. Having said that, I guess when an illness isn't visible, it's that much easier to attack the person over how it affects their lives :rolleyes:

snork
21-11-09, 16:58
Hm. I think if the insurance doubts the diagnosis, presumably made by someone qualified, then they should ask her to go see a "public health officer"*, to diagnose again and either confirm the older diagnosis or not.

Some insurance fart is not qualified to make a decision who is depressed and who not, and based on what they saw at FB ? :hea:
Without even meeting the person ?

I am temporarily retired for depression, and it does not mean I don't occasionally have a laugh or even a good time every now and then.

I had to see an pensions insurance's medic with psychiatrist education to judge the situation.
That was after I was examined by a unemloyment insurance's medic.
And a city's medic, and a medic selected from local "guardian court"* to judge if I qualify for attendance in taking care of my finances and businesses.

So that woman's condition may or may not be for real, but if any authority or insurance is thinking she is abble to work, then they should have taken a more meaningful course to establish that. or not.

*I used a dictionary, but sometimes I do not really trust it.

*Wonders if Manulife is going to investigate how some of their workers pass their working time*

Draco
21-11-09, 17:02
I still find it hard to believe depression is a valid medical condition and not a contrived method of becoming 'the victim'.

Rileigh
21-11-09, 17:07
If she is still depressed, a doctor sould be able to provide evidence.

jackles
21-11-09, 17:17
When my ex was suffering from depression he would go to work and then come home and act in a terrible way....including suicide attempts and threats to kill me. When at work he would act normally. sometimes it is not what is outward that is important but inward.

rowanlim
21-11-09, 17:19
This isn't right, the insurer should have some courtesy not to "infiltrate" a person's private space like that.

Sometimes I wonder if the internet is truly a place for one's freedom.

Rileigh
21-11-09, 17:32
This isn't right, the insurer should have some courtesy not to "infiltrate" a person's private space like that.


I feel the opposite. I've been taught to hate benefit fraud, because they're horrible theives, basically, and whatever needs to be done to catch them out, I say do it.

But someone genuine should be checked out properly; someone claiming to be physically disabled...it's obvious when they're not, but a hidden disability needs a bit more than "Oh look, she was smiling for this photo, at a party, she's not depressed"

aurora89
21-11-09, 18:19
I have several serious illnesses. I use a walker nearly every day, sometimes going to my wheelchair or crutch if it's an unusual day. I'm barely able to function at a level other people can without even thinking about it. I have bouts of serious pain, muscle weakness, even mental disturbances due to physical problems. I have to seriously watch everything I do, from eating to sleeping to walking to studying.

And yet for the longest time my facebook profile was a picture of me rock climbing. I worked hard to be able to get to the point where I can do it once or twice a month, and I'm incredibly proud to be able to do that. My diagnoses have not changed, I still can't function in the day to day stuff as well as other people my age can, and rock climbing wears me out for several days afterwards. Photos can be so easily manipulated and misinterpreted. Better to leave the diagnosis to professionals.

rowanlim
21-11-09, 18:29
I feel the opposite. I've been taught to hate benefit fraud, because they're horrible theives, basically, and whatever needs to be done to catch them out, I say do it.

But someone genuine should be checked out properly; someone claiming to be physically disabled...it's obvious when they're not, but a hidden disability needs a bit more than "Oh look, she was smiling for this photo, at a party, she's not depressed"

I agree that cheats should never be allowed to get away from committing a fraud but surely there are other ways to get information? Did they get permission from FB to gain access to her page? Will they compensate FB for any loss due to lack of trust from their users? I don't really like the idea of using fishy ways to catch a shark.

Dennis's Mom
21-11-09, 18:42
what scares me is how the **** did they get hold of the information? Isn't facebook supposed to be this private site where you "invite" trusted people to access your page? I don't use it much myself, I don't like prying eyes.

My bet is that she has people she's friended from work who decided based on her Facebook page she no longer qualified for disability payments and reported such to the insurance company. After all, the issue isn't whether or not she's depressed; the issue is whether or not her depression is so debilitating that she should be receiving disability benefits rather than working.

Which, I agree, is something only a psychiatrist should decide.

Encore
22-11-09, 00:07
what scares me is how the **** did they get hold of the information? Isn't facebook supposed to be this private site where you "invite" trusted people to access your page? I don't use it much myself, I don't like prying eyes.

And anyway, just because she's been spotted having "fun" on some photos, does this suggest that because she's suffering from depression she should be depressed 24/7 and not allowed to enjoy life whatsoever? I know there are people that fiddle the system, but like earlier mentioned, maybe this is something for the doctors to decide...

I agree. a) the methods used were wrong and b) some photos are not enough for a diagnosis.

Melonie Tomb Raider
22-11-09, 00:10
I say good for the company. I wouldn't want to pay someone for extra vacation that they will spend getting wasted.

miss.haggard
22-11-09, 00:11
Thoughts, taking a year and a half for depression seems a little bit like over-kill. Photo evidence isnt enough for the company to diagnose her, if anything it should be the open door to Doctor visits and evaluation.

LaraCablara
22-11-09, 00:12
I would have done the same thing :whi:.

Love2Raid
22-11-09, 00:18
Ridiculous, whether or not she is being honest. Because:

1. Her facebook profile was supposed to be private!
2. The diagnosis 'depression' cannot be made on a picture.

Forwen
22-11-09, 00:35
A year and a half leave because of depression? No sympathy here.

Damn, paying people for being depressed (correction: for being diagnosed with depression), am I the only one seeing the fault inherent in this system?

miss.haggard
22-11-09, 00:37
Forwen, you are not alone. A year and a half is outrageous. Depression is nothing cookie dough ice cream cant fix.

Yes, I understand depression can be serious, no need to get *****y.

Draco
22-11-09, 00:38
Facebook is being wrongly implicated here.

Encore
22-11-09, 00:55
A year and a half leave because of depression? No sympathy here.

Damn, paying people for being depressed (correction: for being diagnosed with depression), am I the only one seeing the fault inherent in this system?

My mom took a leave for depression. Not a year long but some months. So, forgive me for not sharing your opinion. She was simply not fit to work. The thing is, the job was becoming so stressful that one of her coworkers had a stroke, this coworker was one of my mom's best friends and so she was devastated. I think my mom had every right to take a leave and be payed for it, she worked in that job since she was 18, she was feeling sick so she took the leave.

I understand a lot of people here seem to believe that we're supposed to just sacrifice our ass to the job we're in just because they were kind enough to employ us, and that our only right is having the job itself. I don't share this point of view. If the company thinks the worker is scamming them, take the normal routes, have her be checked by a doctor. But no I don't think the system itself is wrong.

And those were my 2 cents for all that matters.

trXD
22-11-09, 00:55
People cope with depression in different ways, pretending to be happy is actually one of the most common ones. Anyone can smile for a photo, alcoholics can have a good time for 2 hours but still be majorly depressed.

These photos mean absolutley nothing and its shocking that they were used against her.

And yes people depression can last for a year and a half. I know someone who was majorly depressed for 3 years after having her first baby. She felt trapped because her life was broke but she couldnt kill herself out of care for her child. She never went out of the house. Its so insensitive to judge how long someone can be depressed.

Encore
22-11-09, 01:06
^ The problem is that depression is one of the least understood illnesses out there. It's extremely easy for people to discriminate against a depressed person. For one, you become so out of touch that unless someone worries enough to ask, no one really will notice that something's wrong with you. It's not something that shows outside. In fact a lot of depressed people hide it under an image of apathetic normality.

Everyone is worried that a depressed person can be paid for a leave but in reality it's very difficult (at least in my country) to be allowed something like that, precisely because depression is not perceived generally as a debilitating illness. But it is. A depressed worker will simply not work well.

I would refer to the series of suicides that occured in France Telecom recently after downgrading restructurings for the workers. Perhaps if those people were allowed a leave for sickness they wouldn't have died. But that's the thing with depression. No one really cares about you until you turn up dead.

aurora89
22-11-09, 02:55
I don't doubt it. People still give me crap over not really being sick and I USE A WALKER. :hea: People just generally suck about understanding illnesses and disabilities.

I do think if the depression is lasting a year and a half you need to start making other arrangements, though. The work shouldn't have to pay that, and if it's that longterm... I don't know.

Paperdoll
22-11-09, 03:36
I still find it hard to believe depression is a valid medical condition and not a contrived method of becoming 'the victim'.

Here's hoping you never suffer from it.

I say good for the company. I wouldn't want to pay someone for extra vacation that they will spend getting wasted.

I fail to understand how going to a bar and/or on vacation = wasted.

Draco
22-11-09, 03:45
Here's hoping you never suffer from it.

I doubt I ever will, I'm too strong willed.

LegendLost
22-11-09, 04:04
I doubt I ever will, I'm too strong willed.

You're forgetting that some cases of depression aren't a mental factor, but also a physical imbalances of chemicals in the brain. My friend suffers from such a form of depression and probably will the rest of her life. Unlike mental forms though, she has simple meds that make her better.

However if you don't take the meds, nor seek help, even the imbalance can lead to suicide, etc. No matter how strong willed.

Draco
22-11-09, 04:15
You're forgetting that some cases of depression aren't a mental factor, but also a physical imbalances of chemicals in the brain. My friend suffers from such a form of depression and probably will the rest of her life. Unlike mental forms though, she has simple meds that make her better.

However if you don't take the meds, nor seek help, even the imbalance can lead to suicide, etc. No matter how strong willed.

I don't necessarily buy that, granted Depression isn't even really defined. Everything seems to be called Depression these days.

LegendLost
22-11-09, 04:19
Everything seems to be called Depression these days.

I do have to agree with you on that.

Forwen
22-11-09, 09:01
I understand a lot of people here seem to believe that we're supposed to just sacrifice our ass to the job we're in just because they were kind enough to employ us, and that our only right is having the job itself. I don't share this point of view. If the company thinks the worker is scamming them, take the normal routes, have her be checked by a doctor. But no I don't think the system itself is wrong.

The system encourages people to stay depressed and/or keep being diagnosed with depression in order to be paid for not working. It IS an invitation to abuse.

MrBear
22-11-09, 09:59
I'm surprised to see depression being looked at as some pseudo-illness... Although I don't know anyone who's been diagnosed with it, I feel it's not something to be taken lightly or scoffed at.

I don't necessarily buy that, granted Depression isn't even really defined. Everything seems to be called Depression these days.

Do you discount the profession of psychiatrists? As far as I'm aware, their favourite treatment is medicals for exactly what LegendLost described. And just because 'everything's being called depression these days' it doesn't mean that depression should be taken any less serious. It just means you have to be conscious of what you call 'depressed' - you can't diminish the validity of depression due to some overusage of the term by the general public.

The system encourages people to stay depressed and/or keep being diagnosed with depression in order to be paid for not working. It IS an invitation to abuse.

I'm not so sure about that. The only thing I've read and heard about people being depressed or stressed (in the latter case I have a first-hand source) is that they're striving to be able to work - they're not walking about at home doing a happy dance because some dream of being paid for 'doing nothing' has been fulfilled... The system can be abused, yes, but I think that a large majority of people find satisfaction (or something similar) in having something to do. Do you truly believe that a depressed human being rejoices at being home all day doing nothing?

Or maybe it's just a cultural thing. At least in Denmark that picture wouldn't fit so well.

snork
22-11-09, 10:35
every condition is now called depression
Hm, I feel this too. Like every ten years or so, any condition that is not clearly defined get's named "psychiatrists fashion of the decade".

Depression can look very different. A friend has extreme moodswings for no "visible" apparent reasons. (And no she's not manic-depressive.)
For others (also me) it is no moodswings, rather no mood at all.
an image of apathetic normality. describes it pretty well.

I doubt I ever will, I'm too strong willed.
beware. This "strong-will" can be the thing that lets you keep on, when somenone less strong willed might already have searched help.
So the strong will can add to the "fall" being spectacularly high and the hitting the ground being (maybe) more evil than for someone not so strong willed.

As far as I know there is no immunity to depression. Not even a "healthy" social life guarantees.

btw. for me, going to work was like the last thing that worked.
Everything else was already going seriously down, but because of me going to work, me paying for my own life - i was able to not notice.
(which by itself was kind of a symptom)

iamlaracroft
22-11-09, 10:37
I think some members here don't even realize that they themselves are depressed. Based solely on the fact that they spend so much time here, often bemoaning the current unsatisfactory state of their lives, I would think it quite obvious.

Depression exists in many different forms with many different warning signs, several of which are: seclusion and reclusive-ness, lack of friends, lack of social activity/real one on one human interaction, apathy, lack of empathy, detachment, mood-swing, excessive time devoted to online activities such as games/chat/etc so much so that sleep is neglected or negatively affected, lack of employment, and more.

Paperdoll
22-11-09, 13:01
I was going to post an answer, but basically IALC did it for me.

Saying you're strong willed or whatever does not give you the right to dismiss depression as an imaginary illness made up just for being victimized and saying "oh I'm so sick pity me". Like another member added, it's due to chemical imbalances in the brain and could also be developed due to circumstances in life.

Considering it to be a light hearted matter is an insult to those that suffer from it and/or have to deal with people who suffer from it.

Of course the term depressed is used lightly to describe many things but the actual clinical thing isn't something to play around.

But to each their own.

Paddy
22-11-09, 13:07
^^ Agree with the above, depression should not even be a word used unless you genuinelly have it, using it as a word to describe a bad day couldnt be more wrong, theres a huge difference between the blues from a bad day to depression.

trXD
22-11-09, 13:11
I dont think anyone would get confused with the blues and depression. You have to remember it is very hard to get a leave of work with depression, you are severly analysed.

I doubt I ever will, I'm too strong willed.
Are you seriouse?

Zebra
22-11-09, 13:27
I think that's really an insolence. They can't just stop the payments because of a few photos on facebook! If they think she isn't ill they should let a psychiatrist check her again!

I say good for the company. I wouldn't want to pay someone for extra vacation that they will spend getting wasted.

And you're able to tell that she isn't ill just from one stupid news article, of course, eh?

Lara Croft!
22-11-09, 13:52
what scares me is how the **** did they get hold of the information? Isn't facebook supposed to be this private site where you "invite" trusted people to access your page?

.


The insurance company could have created an account like an ordinary user and added her as a friend and thus gained access on her pics.

Dennis's Mom
22-11-09, 14:02
I doubt I ever will, I'm too strong willed.

That's what I thought too, Draco. Then I was crying everyday. Even being completely self-aware of what was going on couldn't help. Depression is a chemical rut it's almost impossible to get yourself out of.

I know someone who was majorly depressed for 3 years after having her first baby. She felt trapped because her life was broke but she couldnt kill herself out of care for her child. She never went out of the house. Its so insensitive to judge how long someone can be depressed.

But that's the point--she was debilitated by her depression. I'm not questioning whether depression exists or whether it can be so severe someone cannot function. I'm just saying that this woman's depression doesn't seem to warrant continued disability payments.

The mere fact she's updating on Facebook makes me suspect. I mean, in my darkest days I cannot imagine posting pictures on Facebook. One--there's no point in keeping up a facade, because clearly she's not trying to hide her depression. She's on medical leave because of it. And two, it's simply too social and productive an activity. She can't go to work because she's so depressed, but she can maintain a Facebook page? Social networking and major depression seem to contradict IMO.

aurora89
22-11-09, 15:39
She can't go to work because she's so depressed, but she can maintain a Facebook page? Social networking and major depression seem to contradict IMO.

I don't see why it's a big shocker that she could update facebook but not go to work. :confused: like, yeah, they're totally similar in ease? One involves getting out of bed, showering, grooming, fixing hair, putting on makeup, getting dressed properly, smiling and acting fine for eight hours, doing extremely stressful crap and being sociable. The other involves... turning on your laptop and going to facebook. :p I get that a lot too ("You must not really be sick if you can update facebook!") but wtf! Just because I can use my computer for five minutes doesn't mean I'm well enough to spend the entire day at work/school! :hea: lol.

Also, as I'm sure you can attest, most illnesses have good days and bad days. :) Maybe she worked extra hard to go the function and didn't even upload the pictures herself. People can tag YOU in pictures and you don't have to do anything to agree to it, but it shoes up on your page. And a holiday in the sun? Sounds like a good treatment for depression to me. I know I've been advised to do similar when my brain-problem induced depression and anxiety were at their worst.

violentblossom
22-11-09, 16:44
My initial thoughts are that whether she's having a depression isn't for neither you nor Manulife to decide; it's a delicate matter and we should leave it to the professional, the doctors. You could be right, of course, but we're only seeing a fragment of her situation here - not nearly enough, I think, for us to judge.

It's worrying, though, that a company has access to her pictures when she hasn't allowed such access. They're likely not the only ones.

what scares me is how the **** did they get hold of the information? Isn't facebook supposed to be this private site where you "invite" trusted people to access your page? I don't use it much myself, I don't like prying eyes.

And anyway, just because she's been spotted having "fun" on some photos, does this suggest that because she's suffering from depression she should be depressed 24/7 and not allowed to enjoy life whatsoever? I know there are people that fiddle the system, but like earlier mentioned, maybe this is something for the doctors to decide...

There is no possible way that an unbiased, informed judgement can be made on such circumstantial, insubstantial and yes, private, information. Having said that, I guess when an illness isn't visible, it's that much easier to attack the person over how it affects their lives :rolleyes:

I agree. a) the methods used were wrong and b) some photos are not enough for a diagnosis.

Ridiculous, whether or not she is being honest. Because:

1. Her facebook profile was supposed to be private!
2. The diagnosis 'depression' cannot be made on a picture.



I fail to understand how going to a bar and/or on vacation = wasted.

I think some members here don't even realize that they themselves are depressed. Based solely on the fact that they spend so much time here, often bemoaning the current unsatisfactory state of their lives, I would think it quite obvious.

Depression exists in many different forms with many different warning signs, several of which are: seclusion and reclusive-ness, lack of friends, lack of social activity/real one on one human interaction, apathy, lack of empathy, detachment, mood-swing, excessive time devoted to online activities such as games/chat/etc so much so that sleep is neglected or negatively affected, lack of employment, and more.



And you're able to tell that she isn't ill just from one stupid news article, of course, eh?

I'd be wasting time typing out what everyone else has already covered, so I'm basically going to say that I agree with all of the above.

I REALLY ****ing hate that employers and the like feel like they can check people networking pages and use that in the basis of who they choose to employ. Same goes for schools. People should be allowed to do whatever the **** they want when they aren't on the clock or else on grounds.

If I should post on Myspace that I enjoy cursing and the ocassional wine cooler, then that should not affect my standing in my occupation.

Draco
22-11-09, 16:56
What if your occupation is politician?

violentblossom
22-11-09, 17:00
What if your occupation is politician?

Your post makes me realise that I should have clarified. :p Unless you are a politician or celebrity (and with celebrity, only to an extent) your occupation should not be affected by things like myspace and facebook. The exceptions to that being harrassing someone via those channels or else slandering the company.

If you aren't harming your company, then you should be left be.

Draco
22-11-09, 17:02
Why shouldn't politicians have that luxury?

violentblossom
22-11-09, 17:05
Why shouldn't politicians have that luxury?

Because their whole job is their appeal, character, and their promises, where as people with regular 9 to 5's aren't trying to prove their worth to a whole lot of people. We leave our work with the punch of a time clock.

Politicans are known for candy coating.. for beautiful lies, so the gilmpses we have into their personal lives are all we have to determine their value and integrity.

Draco
22-11-09, 17:19
I don't necessarily disagree with that, but don't you think the personal life of a bank employee can help the bank determine if that employee is planning to rob it?

violentblossom
22-11-09, 17:30
I don't necessarily disagree with that, but don't you think the personal life of a bank employee can help the bank determine if that employee is planning to rob it?

Which is why I said this:

If you aren't harming your company, then you should be left be.

Draco
22-11-09, 17:32
But should the bank have the right to investigate their employee that far?

Forwen
22-11-09, 18:09
If you aren't harming your company, then you should be left be.

She was claiming benefits for a condition the company suspect she didn't have. Regardless of whether the suspicion is correct or not, the above statement doesn't really relate to this case.

violentblossom
22-11-09, 19:38
She was claiming benefits for a condition the company suspect she didn't have. Regardless of whether the suspicion is correct or not, the above statement doesn't really relate to this case.

No, it doesn't. I was merely relating my sentiments on the matter of companies checking these sites out and using information found on them in general.