The Argentine Court of Appeals in Labor Matters found that a close friendship between a witness and a party could not be inferred from the fact that they were friends on Facebook.

Recently, Division VII of National Court of Appeals in Labor Matters confirmed a decision in favor of an employee, who had offered the testimony of a person he was friends with on Facebook (Argentine Court of Appeals in Labor Matters, Division VII, “Urquiza, Cristian Adolfo c/Club de Remo Teutonia - Asociación Civil s/despido”, Docket No 12.194/2012, decision dated November 26, 2015).

The facts are as follows: An employee sued his former employer for monetary compensation he claimed to be entitled to under labor law, including wage differences, compensations and fines. When stating his case, he established a date for the beginning of the labor relationship and a number of daily working hours that were both disputed by the respondent. The employee offered the testimony of three witnesses to support his allegations, one of which he was friends with on the social network Facebook. The First Instance court mostly rules in favor of the claimant, and considered that the date and daily working hours he claimed had been sufficiently proven.

Both parties appealed. Amongst the grievances expressed by the employer was the appreciation made by the court of the testimony provided by the witnesses. It argued that (i) the witnesses had been imprecise (ii) one of the witnesses was friends on Facebook with the employee and therefore had a friendship with him on the terms of section 441 of the Civil and Commercial Code of Procedure.

The Court of Appeals confirmed the lower court’s decision. Regarding the appreciation made of the questioned testimony, it held that the “close friendship” which section 441 of the Civil and Commercial Code of Procedure warrants witnesses to disclose was not compatible with a friendship on a social network like Facebook. It was, therefore, not a friendship which the courts were required to take into account when making their appreciation of the evidence.

This decision confirms the criteria already set by the same Division of the Argentine Court of Appeals in “Castro Javier Hernan v. Suarez Rodolfo Daniel” (Argentine Court of Appeals in Labor Matters, Division VII, Docket No. 2235/11, decision dated March 31, 2014) and “Martinez Paula Eliana v. Hale Construcciones SRL” (Argentine Court of Appeals in Labor Matters, Division VII, Docket No. 19994/10, decision dated March 31, 2014), in which it was found that a “close friendship” on the terms of section 441 could not be inferred solely from two people being friends on Facebook.