Posted: August 20th, 2019
The possibility of working conditions and duties leading to the psychological trauma of social media moderators has been highlighted in a BBC documentary.
The report detailed the working experience of Shawn Speaglem who worked as a Facebook content moderator for a third party company Cognizant, based in Florida in the United States. Despite have completed a non-disclosure agreement about his time in the role, Shawn opted to disregard this so he could speak out on the pictures and images that workers have to view due to Facebook’s moderation policies and processes.
He said: “One of my first videos that I remember looking at was two teenagers grabbing an iguana by the tail and they smashed it onto the pavement while a third person was recording it. And the iguana was screaming and the kids just would not stop until the iguana was just pasted on the ground. I’ve seen people put fireworks in a dog’s mouth and duct tape it shut. I’ve seen cannibalism videos, I’ve seen terrorism propaganda videos.”
Shawn told the documentary makers that he has suffered great stress, weight gain and depression due to the content he had to view as part of his expected duties. He said: “I felt like I was a zombie in my seat. It really gets to you because I don’t have that bystander syndrome where I’m OK just watching this suffering and not contributing any way to deter it.”
In Ireland, where the European Union headquarters of many social media platforms are located in Dublin, a legal action is being considered on behalf of moderators in relation to their working conditions. Facebook has faced actions similar to this in the past. In September 2018 Selena Scola, a former content moderator with the company submitted a legal action against the company in relation to the mental effects of the work was had to complete. She claimed that the viewing of disturbing images and videos lead to her developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during the time that she was employed at the Facebook headquarters in California. Subsequent to this two more former Facebook content moderators issued similar claims and, as a result, Facebook may now face a class-action lawsuit in relation to this issue.
Continual and repeated exposure to harmful content is an unfortunate side effect of the as part a Moderators role. These side effects can lead to psychological injury and traumatic mental damage to the Moderators over time due to the content that they have to view due to the review and publishing policy of the social media platforms that they work for.
Such trauma can have a great impact depending on the actual content witnessed, the provision and availability of proper support mechanisms from employers to allow staff to deal with work-related trauma and work expectations. The latter refers to the level of work and output required to be completed each day. It is the obligation (duty of care) of the employer to ensure that they provide a safe place of work, a safe system of work and to prevent harm to their employees.
Any content moderators who have suffered due to their working conditions, or required outputs, should look after their own health and seek help as soon as possible. it is also advisable to contact an experienced solicitor to ensure that the company is acting with a duty of care to them.
Posted: July 2nd, 2019
A Co Meath garda whose legs were crushed, when a man rammed him with a stolen car and then drove over his legs in August 2015, has been awarded €975,000 workplace assault compensation by the High Court.
At the time of the incident, Garda Ciaran Murrihy was on duty with three other gardaí when he was deliberately crushed by a stolen car into a garda car vehicle. The incident result in him breaking both of his legs.
Patrick McDonagh, the driver of the stolen car, ,was 26 years old at the time and later later pleaded guilty to having caused serious harm to Garda Murrihy. The outcome of the trial was that he was jailed for seven years in February 2016.
At the High Court Judge Michael Twomey was advised by Barrister Conor E Byrne all parties by consent had agreed on a figure of compensation of €975,000 for Garda Murrihy in relation to the accident and the injuries that he received.
Mr Justice Twomey said that he was both with both parties for reaching agreement on the level of compensation without a full hearing, which he said was always the preferable approach in cases like this.
Garda Murrihy and Garda Lucy Wood, who was also injured in the incident, had been on duty at Clonusk Rise, Hamlet Lane, Balbriggan, on August 2015 when they noticed the stolen Citroen Xsara car that had been stolen earlier that day.
The court was informed that Garda Murrihy – of Macetown, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath – had to roll away to so that his legs were not being repeatedly run over.
Judge Twomey approved the settlement and on the application of Ms Needham directed the release of Garda Murrihy’s medical files.
Garda Murrihy said, in a victim impact statement to the criminal court, that he is still haunted by the vision of McDonagh driving the stolen car directly at him. He told the court that he had gone from being a proud garda and active father-of-two to feeling useless. he said: “McDonagh stole my life from me and has left me with so little”.
Posted: June 15th, 2019
A Garda who was injured in a violent struggle with a prisoner has been awarded a €290,000 workplace injury compensation settlement after he sustained a knee injury.
Sergeant Donal Cronin, aged 50, could complete all of his daily work duties due to the knee injury. He also claimed that he was overlooked for a number of promotions due to the injuries. The overall Garda Workplace injury compensation figure awarded to Garda Cronin was €286,630. The incident happened at Limerick Circuit Court on July 9, 2004.
Presiding Judge Justice Bernard Barton was advised that Sergeant Cronin had been successful the examinations required for promotion to the inspector rank with distinction in 2001. Regardless of this was unsuccessful in both rounds of promotion interview board competitions during 2010 and in 2014.
Garda Cronin, the Judge was informed, was appointed to the position of court presenter – a job that he could perform despite the difficulties suffered as a result of his injuries.
Sergeant Cronin’s legal counsel claimed that he was unsuccessful in his bid for promotion on both occasions due to the injuries he sustained. In addition to this the Court was told that Garda Cronin would likely need an operation for a knee replacement in the neat future.
Among those who providing evidence in Court a former chief superintendent who said that the score Sergeant Cronin had reached from the interview board for promotion was excellent but the system was “unfit for purpose” as it did not make take in to account the injuries sustained when an applicant was suffering from a disability.
This claims were argued by a sergeant garda on behalf of the minister for finance and public expenditure. He added that there was no clear thinking to say that the injuries suffered while Garda Cronin was on duty were an obstacle to the promotion to the rank of inspector.
He also said that it was not uncommon for a candidate coming from an administrative post without major operational frontline experience to be given the post of inspector and that said the promotion procedure was heavily policed. The interview board was not given the details of a candidate’s medical records as part of the promotion process – just four of 17 sergeants in the Limerick division were successful in their application for promotion to inspector, two of which were for administrative positions.
A calculated figure for the amount of compensation due to Sergeants Cronin, incorporating future loss of income due to being passed over for promotion of, of €166,630 was submitted to the court. Justice Bernard Barton awarded him (Garda Cronin) another €120,000 in general damages due to the serious injury to his left knee that lead to physical disability and ongoing pain and discomfort he had to deal with
The Judge told the Court said he was satisfied with the award and said that he felt if Sergeant Cronin reapplied for promotion, his injuries would not block a potential “a successful outcome”.
Posted: April 12th, 2019
A convicted burglar, Thomas O’Neill, has been awarded €20,000 bike accident compensation at the High Court after he was involved in a hit and run accident.
47-year-old Mr Thomas O’Neill, who is at this time serving an eight-year sentence for aggravated burglary, told the Judge that that the accident happened on June 18, 2014. Following A day fishing with his son in Swords, he was returning home on his bike when he was knocked off it and hit the ground hard. He commented: “The last thing I remember was feeling the impact and waking up in the ditch on the side of the road.”
Mr O’Neill told the judge that he had been inflicted with a head injury, loss of consciousness for a time and as well as a number of wounds to his face and body. He had refused assistance from a passing taxi driver and made his own way home by bus once he hid his bike in the ditch. He could not recall how his bike subsequently got back to his home. Neither had he any memory of speaking to his Doctor or a nurse who treated him at Beaumont Hospital.
He had gone to the Garda Station to make a statement about the accident. Sergeant Brendan O’Connor informed the Court that Mr O’Neill had been ‘under the influence of an intoxicant’, when he attended the Garda Station to make the statement and was told to return later to complete this. However he had not come back.
Legal counsel for the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), Joseph McGettigan SC. accused, Mr O’Neill of fabricating the incident.
He said: “I am suggesting to you that for whatever reason, you have decided to concoct a case involving an untraced motorist, in order to get compensation, and you are here today with a story that just doesn’t add up. It is defying all credibility.
“I am suggesting to you that, whatever happened to you that day, you were not involved in a hit-and-run accident, and you decided to bring proceedings against the bureau without going through any normal channels. You never reported this case to the gardaí.”
Replying to this Mr O’Neill said: “I did report it to the guards.”
Mr O’Neill, the Judge was advised, had 20 previous convictions. However, Judge Hanna told the Court that these previous convictions did not mean he was not entitled to seek compensation for injuries in an accident. The Judge said he believed that the plaintiff was ‘not lying’ and was entitled to be awarded €20,000 inbike accident compensation.
Posted: February 2nd, 2019
A €63,000 Tayto Park accident compensation settlement for a now 16-year-old boy in relation to a fall from a playground slide on August 26, 2013 was approved at the High Court heard.
Seán Kelly was 11-years-old he sustained serious kidney injuries in the incident occurred at Tayto Park, Co. Meath. Judge Garrett Simons was advised that Seán – who lives at Coolkill, Sandyford, Dublin – was told he should be wearing shoe covers to reduce the friction from the slide when he fell in the ‘hazardous’ run-off section, and landed painfully on the side of tubing.
Judge Simons was advised that Seán was ‘doubled up’ due to the pain he was suffering from following the accident. He was administered with first aid before he got sick a few times. After this he was taken to his family’s car and they brought him to his family doctor for further treatment late. His GP referred him to Tallaght Paediatric Emergency Department where an x-ray showed he had a grade two injury to his kidney.
Seán’s was prescribed with a course of antibiotics to treat his kidney injuries he made a full recovery by January 2014.
Seán’s legal counsel Patrick O’Connell SC told the Judge that Tayto Park failed have sufficient supervision in place for the children when they were exiting the slide. Mr O’Connell went on to say that the slide was highly polished and slippery at the run-off area. He also said that the sides of the slide should have been coated with foam or rubber to minimise the chance of injury if a child slipped on it. There was also an allegation that the slide should have been constructed so that users would finish the complete run and not be able to exit it earlier.
Mr O’Connell informed Justice Judge Simons that a playground amusement compensation settlement offer of just under €63,000 had been agreed. Judge Simons gave his approval for the personal injury compensation.
Posted: January 24th, 2019
An 11-year-old schoolboy has been awarded €27,500 dog bite injury compensation after he was bitten by a neighbour’s greyhound dog and left with scarring to his leg
Barrister Kevin D’Arcy, legal representative on behalf of Milan Nasyron, told the Circuit Civil Court that the young boy, who took the legal action against his neighbour Fiona Coggins through his mother Evita Hoverun, had been attacked by the dog on May 25 2017. The attack occurred when he was putting his bicycle in a communal basement car park at a residential development in Clarehall, Malahide Road, Dublin.
Mr D’Arcy told that court that the defendant had allowed the greyhound to run free without a muzzle. This action, it was alleged, resulted in the attack on the then 9-year-old Milan.
Presiding Judge Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was informed that Ms Coggins did not have control of her dog despite a number of earlier incidents involving the dog. As the boy was returning to his home, and was placing his bicycle in the car park, the dog had lunged at Milan from the direction of Ms Coggins’ car parking area. The attack punctured the back of Milan’s left thigh.
Additionally, he had been knocked forward in the attack further injuring and cutting his right knee. Luckily, Milan had been able to escape from the dog via the elevator to get into his home.
Milan was taken to the emergency department of Temple Street Hospital where his cuts were cleaned and dressed and he was treated with antibiotics for his injuries. After his treatment it was recorded that he had half inch scar on his right knee and a small puncture scar on the back of his left thigh.
Due to the incident, the court was told, Milan had had developed a fear of dogs and suffered from anxiety.
Judge Groarke said he felt the €27,500 settlement offer for the defendant was a good one which he approved with an order for costs.
Posted: December 3rd, 2018
It has been reveal than in excess of 110 incidents of tram or train “surfing” have been recorded by Irish Rail and on Luas services since 2014.
The dangerous activity hit the headlines in October when 20-year-old Rebecca Kelly received €550,000 in compensation after suffering a severe brain injury after clinging on to a Luas carriage. Ms Kelly fell back onto the tracks and banged her head on the ground before some people dragged her out of the way of an oncoming tram.
A Freedom of Information request has revealed that there have been 35 cases of tram surfing on Luas services in the past four years. On the Green Line that travels from Dublin City Centre to South Co Dublin recorded incidents have been more sporadic. There were none recorded in 2015 but then there were 13 throughout 2016.
Spokeswoman for Transdev, which operates both lines, Ms Dervla Brophy said the incidents of tram surfing are low. She stated: “Tram surfing can be fatal. We have had a very small number of incidents of people trying to ‘scut’ and all staff are trained to be vigilant, observe and report. The public have reported [cases] too. Any activity or even potential concern that is reported – trams will be stopped, security and or gardai called. The risk of serious injury is very high.”
She added: “We show CCTV of various incidents that have occurred along the lines. The purpose is to request parents know where their kids are and if they are on the lines, they’re aware just how dangerous their playground might be.”
A separate Freedom of Information request has lead to Irish Rail releasing figures detailing 87 incidents of train surfing since 2016. Of the incidents recorded in the last 36 months, twelve were on the Northern commuter route connecting Dublin and Dundalk. The incidents in question occurred exclusively on the Dart service.
Irish Rail spokesperson Barry Kenny said: “On board staff, station staff and security personnel are vigilant in ensuring we respond with security or garda support. Extra security patrols this year are yielding a reduction in the number of incidents.”
Irish Rail said it had modified the original Dart fleet of 76 carriages during refurbishment to make headlight units more difficult to grasp onto.
Posted: November 23rd, 2018
Garda Ronan Leonard has been awarded €8,000 workplace injury compensation at the High Court due to a soft tissue shoulder injury which he sustained while in pursuit of a suspect as part of his work duties.
The compensation legal action that was submitted by Garda Leonard sought €20,000 Garda workplace injury compensation against the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. Garda Leonard suffered the shoulder injury in the fall that occurred on July 11, 2014, while he was chasing the suspect.
In the aftermath of the fall Garda Leonard attended with an out-of-hours doctor service and, from here, he was sent to an Accident and Emergency hospital department. The X-rays that were conducted show that Garda Leonard suffered no bone breaks. Garda Leonard was allowed to go home with a prescription for painkillers and anti-inflammatories. Due to the injury in the fall he could not attend work for a period of five days.
Due to constant pain Garda Leonard was suffering with, he went to his local Doctor where he was diagnosed with a sprain to the joint at the top of his left shoulder. His doctor treated him a steroid injection and a course of anti-inflammatories. Due to the pain remaining Garda Leonard was treated with the same medication and steroid injection in October 2014.
The High Court was advised that Garda Leonard has now fully recovered from the soft tissue injury. Additionally, the Court was informed that he has never previously claimed under the Garda Compensation Acts.
Legal representatives for Garda Leonard told the High Court that he should be awarded €20,000 workplace injury compensation based on the Book of Quantum. However, the Judge ruled that €8,000 was the appropriate figure of compensation, plus €60 agreed special damages. He, the Judge, went on to say that as part of his ruling, that the appropriate figure is €8,000 due to the recent binding decisions of the Court of Appeal in relation to personal injury cases. This decision directed that a downwards recalibration of damages for personal injury workplace compensation actions of approximately 45-50% must be applied.
The Judge also stated that €8,000 Garda work injury compensation was the proper figure for Garda Leonard and proportionate to the injuries in question.
Posted: October 17th, 2018
Following being attacked by his no brother-in-law outside a Letterkenny nightclub, a Garda has been awarded €4,000 workplace injury compensation.
Garda Fintan Smith told High Court Judge Justice Michael Twomey that he was attacked and headbutted by the man. The initial attack left him with a black eye and nose bleed and lead to him falling on the footpath. Following this Garda Smith was sitting in the front seat of the Garda car and the attacker restrained in handcuffs in the back seat, awaiting transfer to Letterkenny Garda Station. At this point Garda Smith was kicked to the side of his head by the same man.
Garda Smith informed Judge Twomey that he no longer maintains a relationship with his now brother-in-law. He does have excellent relations with the other members of his wife’s family. Earlier in 2017, Garda Smith married his girlfriend and his attacker had been invited to the celebration but he did not attend on the day. In the aftermath of the incident Garda Smith said that he does his best to avoid any family occasion if he knows that his brother-in-law is also planning to be present.
Ms Fiona Crawford, legal counsel for Garda Smith, told the High Court her client had sustained an injured nose. X-rays showed that Garda Smith had not sustained a bone injury.
The incident, the High Court was told, had lead to a major amount of tension between Garda Smith and his then girlfriend. He was unable to attend work for a month due to the embarrassment the episode caused him. He said that he felt a lot of anger for a while after the attack. He then requested, and received, a transfer from Letterkenny to Ballybofey Garda Station. Garda Smith told the Judge that his now brother-in-law had been a known troublemaker when the attack occurred and was not the type of person who would respect the gardai.
In awarding workplace compensation of €4,000 for the injuries Garda Smith suffered, Judge Twomey stated that he believed Garda Smith’s opinion that brother-in-law had a negative attitude towards gardai.
Posted: September 7th, 2018
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has upheld an unfair dismissal claim of a waitress who was on the spot due to a customer posting a negative comment on TripAdvisor complaining that “the red-haired waitress was abrupt”. The restaurant has been ordered to pay her €2,000 compensation.
The restaurant manager advised the WRC that he concurred with the waitress’s account regarding the dismissal and added that he had received an additional two complaints from customers and a further 20 complaints from other employees. He also accepted that he did not advise the waitress of these other complaints when he he advising he that her position of employment was terminated.
WRC Adjudication Officer Máire Mulcahy issued a ruling which stated that the use of the TripAdvisor review and the 20 alleged complaints “is not far short of mob rule in the workplace” when the waitress was not given the chance to examine the authenticity of them.
The ruling said that the “vox-pop” type comment on TripAdvisor that “the waitress with the red hair was abrupt” which the restaurant used as the basis to sack her “is very far removed” from the concept of “substantial grounds” to justify a dismissal as required by the Unfair Dismissal Act. Ms Mulcahy added that the waitress’s description of how her dismissal occurred is not being argued.
She said said: “There was no disciplinary procedure in the workplace. There was no process. No advance notice, no examination of the alleged complaints, no opportunity to be accompanied at the meeting which resulted in her dismissal, or right of appeal was afforded to the complainant.”
Ms Mulcahy stated that the waitress was denied a proper judicial process regarding her sacking.
The defendant advised the WRC, in her testimony that she feels that the real reason she was sacked was due to the support she gave to the manager’s partner in the break-up of their relationship.
The final WRC report on the case said that the restaurant boss has said sorry to the waitress for his actions.