Even selfies are used in court

According to Wikipedia, a “selfie” “is a self-portrait type image, typically taken with a smartphone which may be held in the hand or supported by a selfie stick. Selfies are often shared on social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.” Easy to get, even easier to share on Internet or on social media.

However, the simplicity of taking a selfie can create considerable complications, whether you take or use it at the wrong time or you don’t take it at all. Courts in recent cases show exactly that.

A first case concerns a warehouseman employed by one of the largest e-commerce companies. He got fired for having interrupted his work to take two selfies in two different moments, also using a product for sale. With sentence no. 2203 of 18 September 2018, the Court of Milan stated that the conduct adopted by the subject did not constitute dismissal for misconduct, but acknowledged the illegal nature of the selfie taken during the working hours and in violation of the obligations arising from the employment contract. For this reason, the worker was not reintegrated but the company paid him an allowance equal to four months’ salary.

Also a gentleman of Genoa was in trouble for a selfie. He used to share on a group of WhatsApp selfies taken with a woman. However, the Court of Genoa judged the selfies – considered as documentary evidences – the responsible for the breakdown of the marriage to request the separation charge.

On the other hand, a selfie may have helped a Dominican woman who was refused a residence permit for family reunification, since there was no evidence of cohabitation with her Italian husband. Judgment no. 860 of 02 March 2016 stated that there was no evidence of cohabitation because the woman had not taken ” even a selfie of everyday life and the Sundays claimed to be spent together. Even if in civil trials the evidences are common, digital era tools, such as e-mails, icons and selfies have become part of the documentary and photographic evidences.

The use of new electronic instruments is not a “far west” where anything is possible. Our online behaviour inevitably has legal consequences and can also have very unpleasant consequences. This should be an accepted principle which everyone should be aware of, but sometimes it seems not to be so.

What we post on the Internet or in a social network is far more dangerous than what we can write on paper or say verbally because we use a way that makes the communication durable. Even if we can erase it, it remains somewhere the electronical memory and it may come up at the wrong time.