Plaintiff successfully sued his former employer for age discrimination and was awarded $150,000. He signed a settlement agreement that included a standard nondisclosure clause limiting disclosure by him of the existence and terms of the settlement only to his spouse, attorneys, and professional advisors. The settlement imposed an $80,000 penalty on plaintiff for any breach of the nondisclosure provision.
Thereafter, in a celebratory moment (and undoubtedly without Dad’s knowledge), plaintiff’s daughter went on her Facebook page and posted that “Mama and Papa … won the case against … [the employer, which] is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT” for all of her 1,200 Facebook “friends” to view.
The employer learned of the daughter’s Facebook post and sought the $80,000 penalty for breach of the nondisclosure provision. Plaintiff countersued to enforce the settlement. A lower court granted plaintiff’s request, but a Florida appellate court reversed the lower court in Gulliver Schools Inc. v. Snay, 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 2595 (Fl. Ct. App. 2014). In its decision, the appeals court observed that the employee had “[done] exactly what he had promised not to do” by revealing the settlement to his daughter, and that his daughter then did “precisely what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent, by advertising to the … [employer’s] community that … [her father] had been successful in his [claims].”