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LinkedIn Post Breaches Terms of Settlement

July 4, 2024

LinkedIn Post Breaches Terms of Settlement

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This is an interesting decision, centralizing around the alleged contravention of a settlement agreement.

M.M. brought a discrimination complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario against the corporate employer and an employee of the corporate employer. Through an early mediation, the parties were able to resolve the dispute, entering into Minutes of Settlement on June 7, 2019 (the “MOS”). The MOS specifically included confidentiality, mutual non-disparagement, and breach clauses.

Following the settlement, M.M. posted a statement on their LinkedIn profile which stated:

               “To all those inquiring, I have come to a resolution in my Human Rights Complaint against [the corporation] and [the individual] for sex discrimination]”.

In the fall of 2019, M.M. added this post to the first sentence of their public LinkedIn biography in the “About” section, replacing the original post. 15 months after being posted, the employer discovered the posting and wrote to M.M. requesting them to remove the posting. M.M. did not respond, but about a month after the employer’s letter, revised the posting to read:

               “To all those inquiring, all matters have been resolved in my Human Rights Complaint against [the corporation] and [the individual] for sex discrimination”.

L.C.C. and L.C. filed an application for breach of the MOS. Following the filing of the application, M.M. removed the posting from LinkedIn.

M.M. claimed that they did not consider the post to be in breach of the confidentiality provision of the MOS, and provided a number of reasons to defend her decision to make the posting. The Tribunal did not accept these excuses.

The Tribunal identified that the MOS was a binding contract, and carefully analyzed the relevant principles of contract law and breach of contract. In doing so, it found that M.M. had a “duty to act in good faith” and to “have appropriate regard to the legitimate contractual interests of the contracting partner”. The Tribunal ultimately found that M.M. had not met these duties, and had breached the terms of the MOS. The Tribunal underscored in its decision that the very purpose of the confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions was to prevent reputational damage to L.C.C. and L.C. Accordingly, M.M. was ordered to repay the settlement funds, with interest, and ordered that M.M. must comply with the terms of the MOS. M.M. brought forward a request for reconsideration of this decision, which was refused.

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