At the High Court a workplace compensation action has been lodged against Facebook by an individual who was previously employed by CPL Solutions to work as a content moderator on the social media platform.
The man in question, Sean Burke. claims in the action that was submitted that his daily duties in his role meant that he was forced to “repeatedly view extremely violent, graphic and upsetting material, some of which involved children”. This is the second such workplace trauma compensation actions taken against Facebook in Ireland. In September 2019 the Personal Injuries Board to give a group of former moderators the go-ahead to serve proceedings against Facebook.
Burke has previously, while being interviewed, described the terrible working conditions that he experienced, including viewing material such as child sexual abuse and bestiality.He said: “My first day on the job, I witnessed someone being beaten to death with a plank of wood with nails in it and repeatedly stabbed”. Burke is seeking damages compensation from Facebook Ireland and outsourcing company CPL Solutions due to the alleged “serious psychological injuries” he sustained from have to review explicit content like this.
At the time Diane Treanor, a solicitor working with Coleman Legal Partners in Dublin, said in connection with the legal action: “The Personal Injuries Assessment Board has commenced authorising the issuing of High Court proceedings against Facebook. (Under section 17 of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003) If a plaintiff’s injury consists of psychological damage that would be difficult to assess by the board, it can permit for the claim to be pursued through the courts.”
She said: “The Personal Injuries Assessment Board has commenced authorising the issuing of High Court proceedings against Facebook. (Under section 17 of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003) If a plaintiff’s injury consists of psychological damage that would be difficult to assess by the board, it can permit for the claim to be pursued through the courts.”
Facebook responding to the claims of Irish-based content moderators earlier this year saying with an official Facebook spokesperson saying: “We recognize this review work can be difficult, and we work closely with our partners to ensure that the people who do this work are supported. We require everyone who reviews content for Facebook go through an in-depth, multi-week training program on our Community Standards and have access to extensive psychological support to ensure their wellbeing. This includes 24/7, on-site support with trained practitioners, an on-call service, and access to private healthcare from the first day of employment. We are also employing technical solutions to limit their exposure to graphic material as much as possible. This is an important issue, and we are committed to getting this right.”
We would strongly advise anyone who has suffered trauma due to the any duty they were contractually obliged to fulfill as part of their work duties to seek treatment or counselling as soon as possible. Following this you should speak with a solicitor familiar with managing claims like this in order to ensure that you are adequately compensated for the suffering you have gone through.