A teen’s Facebook comment ended up costing her family $80,000. In November 2011, Patrick Snay was awarded a settlement in a lawsuit against his former employer. However, the settlement included a confidentiality clause.
In 2010, The Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami, Florida, failed to renew Patrick’s contract as headmaster. As he was 65-years-old at the time, Patrick filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the school.
Patrick and the school eventually agreed to settle out of court. The agreement included an $80,000 settlement, $60,000 in attorney fees, and $10,000 in back pay. The agreement also included a confidentiality clause. Patrick agreed that he would not discuss the terms of the settlement or make them public.
Despite the clause, Patrick shared the details with his family, including his daughter Dana. Unaware or uninterested in the terms of the agreement, the teen bragged about the settlement in an ill-conceived Facebook comment:
“Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”
As a former student of Gulliver Preparatory School, with more than 1200 Facebook friends, Dana’s comment soon caught the attention of school administrators.
Although he admitted the comment was offensive, Patrick defended his daughter’s behavior. He said Dana is still suffering “psychological scars” from the years she spent attending the prestigious school.
Patrick said he made the decision to tell his daughter about the outcome because he “needed to tell her something.”
As reported by Miami New Times, the school fought the terms of the original settlement. Although a lower court sided with Patrick, attorneys for the school appealed the decision. The Third District Court of Appeals sided with the school, determining that the teen’s Facebook comment violated the terms of the confidentiality clause.
Judge Linda Ann Wells explains the court’s decision:
“Snay violated the agreement by doing exactly what he had promised not to do… His daughter then did precisely what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent.”
Although the decision can be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, Patrick and his attorneys have not commented about how they plan to proceed.
Daily Mail reports that Patrick is now working as headmaster of Riviera Preparatory School in Coral Gables, Florida. His annual salary is $20,000.
His daughter Dana is now attending Boston College. Although the teen’s Facebook comment ultimately lost her family $80,000, she has not offered a public apology for her behavior.
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