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Microsoft Workers Sue for Porn, Murder Exposure PTSD

As the old saying goes, when fighting monsters, a person has to be careful not to become a monster themselves. However, when a person works for a company that forces them to watch videos that are nothing less than monstrous, the company might be responsible for protecting employees’ mental well-beings. A recent lawsuit by two Microsoft employees against their employer is premised on that neglected responsibility.

The two employees are suing because they were pushed too far into the belly of the beast and emerged on the other side with PTSD. The beast in this instance is the internet, and as part of their online safety jobs at Microsoft, these employees were required to monitor online content and review the content that needed to be removed.

The men assert that the content they were forced to view included the most base and vile content imaginable, ranging from child pornography to murder. As a result of viewing this content, both men allege that they have suffered psychologically, and that both now have PTSD as a result of viewing disturbing content.

Lack of Psychological Safeguards

The employees are alleging that Microsoft failed to provide the appropriate safeguards in terms of regular counseling for employees exposed to the traumatic content. Rather than providing counseling, the company’s wellness program suggested that employees take breaks, walks, smoke, or play video games. Shockingly, Microsoft did provide a much higher level of psychological support to another team that held a similar task.

The employees that filed suit were forced to continue watching disturbing content as part of their jobs, despite their protests and attempts to transfer out. One was unable to transfer out due to company policy and the other literally had a mental breakdown.

Corporate Liability for Dangerous Jobs

While normally workers compensation would cover an employee’s claim of work related illness or injury, the Microsoft employees had their claims denied. However, companies usually cannot escape liability for injuries sustained by their employees on the job, especially if the injury was sustained in the scope and course of the employee’s job.

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