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Federal Judge Says “NO” to Home Depot’s Request for Former Employee’s Social Media Activity

After 19 years with Home Depot, Danielle Mailhoit was fired. She was a manager of a Burbank, CA Home Depot at the time of her termination in 2010. In May 2011, Mailhoit filed a lawsuit claiming she was fired unlawfully because of her gender and disability (vertigo).

Vertigo%20stairs%2035606055-001.jpgThe lawsuit also claims her employer did not provide reasonable accommodations for her disability as required by law.

One of Home Depot’s actions in the litigation was to ask the court to force Mailhoit to grant them total access to all of her social media accounts and activity back to October 2005, specifically:

Any profiles, postings, or messages (including status updates, wall comments, causes joined, groups joined, activity streams, blog entries) from social-networking sites from October 2005 (the approximate date Plaintiff claims she first was discriminated against by Home Depot), through the present, that reveal, refer, or relate to any emotion, feeling, or mental state of Plaintiff, as well as communications by or from Plaintiff that reveal, refer, or relate to events that could reasonably be expected to produce a significant emotion, feeling, or mental state…


Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal of the United States District Court for the Central District of California ruled last month that Home Depot’s request was “impermissibly overbroad”. Segal ruled that Home Depot has not proved “that every picture of plaintiff taken over a seven-year period and posted on her profile by her or tagged to her profile by other people would be considered relevant.”

Judge Segal did grant Home Depot access to communication(s) between Mailhoit and current/former Home Depot employees because those would be pertinent to the lawsuit.