Pair Say They Weren't Adequately Warned About Job 'Horrors'
Two ex-employees of Microsoft have filed a complaint saying that they were inadequately prepared for the “horrors” of their jobs, which they say caused post-traumatic stress disorder.
Their Online Safety Team jobs involved monitoring services like email and the online search engine Bing to remove and report illegal content like murder, child pornography and bestiality, as per specific laws which passed in 2007.
However, Henry Soto and Greg Blauert say they were inadequately prepared by Microsoft for the day-to-day stresses and horrors that they would be exposed to, reports Business Insider.
Soto says he was involuntarily transferred to the Online Safety Team and wasn’t warned about the potential psychological trauma. He performed the job, but over time he said it became just too much.
After watching a video of a young girl getting assaulted and murdered, Soto said he started having “auditory hallucinations,” to the point where he finally requested a transfer, eventually taking medical leave.
His lawyers say that the counselling Microsoft provided was inadequate for what he was experiencing.
Now he says he’s exhibiting signs of PTSD, that even going near a computer can be triggering.
For Blauert, as part of the company-mandated “Wellness Plan”, he could go home early to help cope. However, in doing so, his employee reviews were damaged and he ended up having a physical and mental breakdown.
The “Wellness Plan”, according to the men, also advised employees who were disturbed by images to take “walks and smoking breaks” and redirect thoughts by playing video games.
Microsoft has disagreed with the claims, saying that while it “takes seriously its responsibility to remove and report imagery of child sexual exploitation and abuse being shared on its services”, the health and resilience of these employees was just as important.
“This work is difficult, but critically important to a safer and more trusted internet. The health and safety of our employees who do this difficult work is a top priority.”