Posted: September 22nd, 2020
A woman who was previously employed, on a contract basis, to moderate content on the YouTube video sharing service, has submitted a class action lawsuit in California claiming that the company is in breach of the State’s legislation by failing to put in place a safe working environment and doing its utmost to protect the mental health of content moderators
The woman, who has not been identified in the filing, detailed how the duties involved in the role resulted in her experiencing “severe psychological trauma including depression and symptoms associated with anxiety and PTSD.”
She claims that that YouTube failed to “implement the workplace safety standards it helped create” and required moderators “to work under conditions it knows cause and exacerbate psychological trauma.”
She held the position with after being appointed to the role by staffing agency Collabera. The duration of her employment was from January 2018 to August 2019. There was no response from YouTube and Collabera when they were asked to common on the allegations included in the class action filing.
The ex-moderator said YouTube made little of the dangers involved int he role during initiation and orientation for the position. Content Moderators who voices worry in relation to the dangers of the position were kept silence via the use of non-disclosure agreements. Prospective employees are informed, prior beginning the job, that they “might be required to review graphic content” that “can have negative mental health impacts.”
It is being alleged that YouTube time and time again refused, when asked, to implement the use of certain features that would have alleviated the stressful associated with the moderator role.
In relation to the provision of “wellness coaches”, people supposedly provided by YouTube to allow for a measure of psychological support it was claimed that they are not always available and are not properly qualified for the position they are holding. Staff are actually informed that they could “not receive any on-site medical care because Wellness Coaches are not medical doctors and cannot diagnose or treat mental health disorders”. She claims that one such coach advised her, in 2018, to “take illegal drugs” to help with the stress.
The class action lawsuit claims that YouTube are to blame for the traumatic experiences and suffering of the YouTube content moderators as the manner of the material that they must review is “abnormally dangerous” and that the video sharing platform is has been engaging in negligent behavior and suppyling “unsafe equipment” for staff to deal with the role.