Cognizant content moderators sue IT firm, Facebook for mental trauma: Report

Cognizant content moderators sue IT firm, Facebook for mental trauma: Report
Photo Credit: Reuters
17 Mar, 2020

Over 3,000 employees from information technology (IT) services firm Cognizant, who are content moderators for the company’s client social media giant Facebook, have filed a class action lawsuit against the two companies for allegedly causing psychological trauma and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a Times of India report on Monday.

TechCircle could not independently verify the development. Both Cognizant and Facebook declined TechCircle's request for a comment on the matter.

The US-based lawsuit comes months after the Teaneck, New Jersey headquartered company in October said it would exit some of its content moderation businesses. It said it would exit the segment over the course of 2020 as it was not in line with the company’s long-term strategic vision.

Leaving this segment would impact Cognizant’s financial performance in the coming year and affect about 6,000 jobs, CEO Brian Humphries had said during the third-quarter earnings call.

Content moderation jobs involve determining whether content posted on a client’s platform violates the customers’ terms of use, and removing material that does not adhere to the standards from the platform. Some of the content they view can involve objectionable material. 

The lawsuit, filed by lead plaintiffs citizens of Florida and Arizona, said that the claims exceed $5,000,000 in the aggregate, according to the Times report.

The report said the complaint claims for intentional tort -- deliberate concealment or misrepresentation of known danger and negligence. It also alleged that employees suffered PTSD and other psychological disorders; emotional distress; loss of enjoyment of life; physical injuries including heart attack, stroke and epilepsy; and lost payment and future earning capacity. They sought damages for the same along with a medical monitoring fund, the report added.