Crowdwork or microwork: understand the digital work that stopped in court

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Crowdwork or microwork: understand the digital work that stopped in court

The 59th Labor Court of São Paulo (SP) determined that a technology company formalize the hiring of all its service providers who acted as individual microentrepreneurs (MEI) or autonomous.

The decision responds to a request from the Public Ministry of Labor, the author of a public civil action filed in March 2020. According to the labor prosecutors, this is the first decision in a collective action by the Labor Judiciary dealing with crowdwork, also known as microwork.

In this model, workers act in a kind of support to artificial intelligence tools that supply companies and platforms. They monitor responses in automated chats and review audio transcripts, for example, making corrections and adjustments when necessary.

This human interference serves to calibrate and improve the artificial intelligence, which is trained based on these corrections.

According to the MPT, activities via crowdwork are, in general, of low complexity and short duration (that is why some refer to the model as microwork, as they provide for the execution of microtasks).

Ixia Gestão de Negócios Ltda, condemned to recognize the bond of its workers –the decision does not say how many will be registered–, informed in the action that its service providers were entrepreneurs and had their own legal entities.

THE Sheet could not locate company representatives – there is no contact phone number on the company website, nor email. The lawyer who acted in the process was also not reached by phone. On its website, the company says it was founded in 2005 by a group of experts in artificial intelligence, “with a mission to take non-human care to the next level.”

For Judge Camila Costa Koerich, the assertion that service providers are entrepreneurs does not hold up, as there is no enterprise in the relationship between the two parties. What there are, in her assessment, are elements of the employment relationship, such as the economic value of the work stipulated by a third party (the company) and working hours.

Koerich also wrote in the sentence that this model of work presents a paradox: “the human person who works is employed to perform a service (repetitive and with a precarious legal bond) that artificial intelligence was not able to perform alone, feeding this same artificial intelligence to , in the future, its function will be absolutely unnecessary due to the monitoring and evolution of artificial intelligence, which will generate its unemployment.”

In a note, attorney Rodrigo Castilho, who signed the public civil action, said he considers the decision a milestone in labor relations as it creates jurisprudence for other cases of the same type.

Prior to the filing of the lawsuit against Ixia, the MPT in São Paulo had four procedures to investigate the company’s labor relations practices. In 2021, those wanted in the state also filed lawsuits against the Uber, Rappi and 99 apps.

In addition to the recognition of the bond of all its workers responsible for teleservice, data analysis and classification, technical support, satisfaction surveys and assembly of computer system flows, Ixia was also ordered to pay BRL 130,000 for moral damages. collective.

The conviction provides that the company is prohibited from making new contracts for workers such as MEI or self-employed. The company can appeal.

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