Can you sue a co-worker if they posted a picture of you on the company handbook that was taken in a social setting and not work appropriate?

UPDATED: Jun 11, 2011

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Can you sue a co-worker if they posted a picture of you on the company handbook that was taken in a social setting and not work appropriate?

My Team Leader took a picture of me while bowling. She has me pose holding 2 bowling balls in front of my chest. I was not comfortable doing this but let her take it anyway. She ended up sending it to the editor of a handbook that comes out monthly for all of HR to see on a global basis. This has made me upset and looks bad and is not the impression that I want people to have of me. My HR department is not helping.

Asked on June 11, 2011 under Personal Injury, Nevada


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You may be able to sue the co-worker for invasion of privacy.  One type of invasion of privacy is appropriation of one's name or likeness for commercial purposes.  This occurred when your picture without your consent, was sent to the editor of the handbook that is distributed worldwide.

Your lawsuit for invasion of privacy could also include a second cause of action (claim) for negligent infliction of emotional distress.  Negligence is based on the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances) to prevent foreseeable harm.   In order to prove negligence, you would have to prove breach of the duty of due care (breach occurred when the co-worker had the  photo published without your consent), actual cause which means but for the photo being published would you have suffered emotional distress?  If the answer is no, you have established actual cause.  You will also have to prove proximate cause which means were there any unforeseeable intervening events which would relieve your co-worker of liability?  If the answer is no, you have established proximate cause.

You will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.



IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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