Judge restricts Facebook access in discrimination case

A federal judge has ruled that Home Depot was overly broad in seeking to obtain all Facebook, Twitter and other social networking posts made by a former employee now suing the retailer for unlawful discrimination.

According to a report by cnet.com, Danielle Mailhoit, a Home Depot store manager in Burbank, Calif., was fired after a 2010 investigation of her on-the-job performance. She filed a federal lawsuit in 2011, claiming her bad review and her termination were due to unlawful discrimination based on gender and vertigo, a physical disability her employer was already aware of.

Home Depot’s lawyers requested any photos, profiles, postings or messages from social networking sites from October 2005 -- when Mailhoit claims she was first discriminated against -- up until the present. A U.S. Magistrate ruled against them.

The judge did, however, grant Home Depot’s request for any posting by the plaintiff relating to her job or the lawsuit, including social networking communications between Mailhoit and any current or former Home Depot employees.

Home Depot has denied the claims. Mailhoit was terminated for “legitimate, non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reasons," according to the company.

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