« Justices Weigh IQ Tests' Role in Death-Penalty Cases | Main | Supreme Court Declines District's Appeal in 'Boobies' Student-Speech Case »

A Daughter's Facebook Post Costs an Educator $80,000

A Facebook post by the daughter of a Florida educator cost the father $80,000 out of a larger settlement of an employment discrimination suit against a private school.

"Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver," said the Facebook post by the unidentified college-age daughter of Patrick Snay. "Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT."

Snay had sued the Miami-based Gulliver Schools Inc. for age bias and retaliation under Florida law when his contract was not renewed as a headmaster. In 2011, Snay and the non-profit school group reached a confidential settlement providing Snay with $150,000 in back pay and attorney's fees. The agreement included a strict confidentiality provision, providing that if Snay  or his wife violated the provision, an $80,000 portion of the settlement would be "disgorged."

Snay later explained in a deposition that after signing the settlement, he felt a need to tell his daughter about it, because she had attended the private school and was retaliated against because of the lawsuit. 

"So we knew what the restrictions were, yet we needed to tell her something," Snay said in a court proceeding. 

That turned out to be a mistake, though, when Snay's daughter posted her Facebook message. (According to court papers, Snay never said the settlement meant he won his case, and his daughter didn't actually go to Europe the next summer.)

Gulliver Schools soon notified Snay that he had breached the confidentiality agreement by telling his daughter, and that it would not pay $80,000 of the settlement. One concern of the school was that many of the daughter's 1,200 Facebook friends were associated with Gulliver and thus learned of the settlement.

A state trial court held that the disclosure and the Facebook post did not violate the confidentiality provision.

But in a Feb. 26 decision in Gulliver Schools Inc. v. Snay, a three-judge panel of the 3rd District Florida Court of Appeal ruled for the private school.

"Before the ink was dry on the agreement, and notwithstanding the clear language of Section 13 mandating confidentiality, Snay violated the agreement by doing exactly what he had promised not to do," the state appellate court said. "His daughter then did precisely what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent, advertising to the Gulliver community that Snay had been successful in his age discrimination and retaliation case against the school."

[Hat Tip to The Wall Street Journal Law Blog.]

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments

  • shutters: Its difficult once your kids get older to keep them read more
  • Joel Reidenberg: The study does not challenge the value to local schools read more
  • Joe: So, public schools are collecting their students' data in ways read more
  • JT: I still find it unbelievable that people can work in read more
  • Sandra Surace: What can a person do who suffered retaliation by school read more