RI Supreme Court reinstates worker’s unemployment benefits

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island Supreme Court has reinstated the unemployment benefits for a worker fired after posting negative comments about his supervisor on Facebook.

In a 5-to-1 ruling Monday, the court found a Facebook comment by Michael Beagan did not make him ineligible for unemployment coverage under state law. The court has ruled the case lacked “legally competent evidence” connecting the post to Beagan’s employment because it was not made in the workplace and it was not accessible to his superior.

Beagan was fired from his position as a driver for Albert Kemperle Inc. in March 2013 after comparing his supervisor to a character in the novel “Adventures of Pinocchio” among other unflattering posts.

His lawyer says the ruling follows a state tradition of protecting the privacy rights of individuals.

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