Canadian woman loses benefits over Facebook photo

November 22, 2009

(AP) -- A Canadian woman on long-term sick leave for depression says she lost her benefits because her insurance agent found photos of her on Facebook in which she appeared to be having fun.

Nathalie Blanchard has been on leave from her job at IBM in Bromont, Quebec, for the last year.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Saturday she was diagnosed with and was receiving monthly sick-leave benefits from insurance giant Manulife.

But the payments dried up this fall and when Blanchard called Manulife, she says she was told she was available to work because of Facebook.

She said her agent described several pictures Blanchard posted on Facebook, including ones showing her having a good time at a Chippendales bar show, at her birthday party and on a sun holiday.

Blanchard said Manulife told her it's evidence she is no longer depressed. She's fighting to get her benefits reinstated and says her lawyer is exploring what the next step should be.

Blanchard told the CBC 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.

Manulife wouldn't comment on Blanchard's case, but did say they would not deny or terminate a claim solely based on information published on Web sites such as .

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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