Arizona Facebook Defamation Case: Medical Insurance In The Spotlight

Arizona map graphic to accompany blog post about a Facebook defamation case
An Arizona Facebook defamation case has people divided.

A counseling and social services agency based in Payson, Arizona sued a former employee — whom we’ll call *Todd* —  for telling Facebook he was fired because of his newborn’s medical needs.

The Facts Of This Facebook Defamation Case

Three months after Todd’s sickly son came into the world, Horizon Human Services fired him. Convinced that  increased health insurance needs rooted his dismissal, Austin posted the following on Facebook:

“The COO of Horizon Human Services…was the architect of my termination, and the CEO…was the one who executed it. They have fired many sick employees without a thought or care in the world for the horrible position they are placing those people in.”

After Todd went public with his family’s plight, thousands of supporters flocked to his aid, lending both emotional and financial support.

But Horizon Human Services insists that Todd’s firing had nothing to do with his son, but because he routinely flouted company policy. The claims of insubordination, however, ostensibly stand in stark contrast to Todd’s two  recent promotions.

In its Facebook defamation lawsuit case, Horizon also contends that Austin had a history of “posting libelous and defamatory statements about Horizon on the Facebook page…(and) providing libelous and defamatory statements to reporters for a story appearing in the Payson Roundup newspaper…”

The Family Medical Leave Act Affects This Facebook Defamation Case

When his son was born, Todd says he took advantage of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Passed in 1993, the FMLA allows employees who’ve worked for a year or more, at a mid-sized or larger company, to take extended leave in the event of family health emergencies. The law also allows workers to amend their schedules, for up to 26 weeks in a 12-month period.

Horizon argued that even though Todd submitted the FLMA documents and modified his work schedule, due to a previous probation, he had “no access to benefits for prior substandard work performance.” Todd, however, disputes his former employer’s legal interpretation and insists he satisfied caseload requirements in accordance with FMLA standards.

Facebook Defamation Legal Consultation

The silver lining in this Facebook defamation case? Todd’s son seems to be pulling through. While he still has to undergo considerable therapy, the little fighter is doing better.

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