Sometimes problems come up in platform work – your account is suspended or deactivated, the client or platform refuses payment for a job you have already done, there are suspicions about fraud, or you get a bad rating. What can you do as a platform worker in situations like this? What rights do you have under the law? Unfortunately that depends on many things, like if you are an employee of the platform (or client) or self-employed, what country or region you are working in, and the legal terms of the platform. But here we can give you some advice.
The most important four questions
If you are having a problem with (or on) a platform – for example, your account has been suspended or closed, you were refused payment for work you completed, or you received a bad rating – there are four questions you will want to answer to figure out how to try to solve the problem.
1. How is the situation regulated by the platform?
Praktiken, Normalverfahren und vor allem AGBs der Plattform – regeln die diese Situation?
The first step is to try to understand how (and if) the situation is regulated by the normal processes and legal terms of the platform. For example, if you did work but a client refused to pay for it, and you now have a dispute with this client, does the platform have a normal process for handling such disputes? As a second example, does the platform have a contact form or email address to contact if your account is suspended or closed? This information may be provided in the platform’s legal terms or elsewhere. If yes, using this process or contact methods should be your first step. [[FairTube members only: FairTube can help you to find out this information and to write your message, if you like.]] More information about how FairTube can help you here. If no process or contact possibility is available, you can move on to the second question.
[[Here a list of how different problems are handled by different platforms]][[For members only]][[For non-logged in users or users who aren’t members, pixelated or short preview, like on Spiegel]]
2. Has the platform signed the Crowdsourcing Code of Conduct or some other voluntary code of conduct?
If the platform in question has signed the Crowdsourcing Code of Conduct, you have access to the Ombuds Office of the Code of Conduct. The Ombuds Office is neutral dispute resolution process that signatory platforms to the Code of Conduct have committed to participate in to resolve disputes. However, to file a complaint with the Ombuds Office you must first at least have attempted to contact the platform to resolve the problem directly, for example via a contact form or email.
If the platform in question has not signed the Crowdsourcing Code of Conduct and there is no possibility to contact the platform about your problem (or the platform has not replied to your satisfaction), you may need to consider legal action. The legal possibilities will depend on your contractual situation (i.e., if you are an employee of self employed), the laws in your location, and the specific problem. We provide some background information below and can provide additional information to FairTube members via email or phone. However if you choose to pursue legal action you should probably engage legal support. [[FairTube can provide members with some contacts to specialist lawyers.]][[@Six: remember “Amazon lawyers” in The Verge, “Prime and Punishment”]]
3. Are you an employee of the platform or client, or are you self employed?
If you are an employee of the platform or client with which you are having a dispute, you probably have many more rights. (These depend on where you are.) You are however probably more likely to be self employed – or at least, it is likely that the platform’s legal terms say that you are self employed. […].
4. Where are you?
The legal rights you have as a platform worker – regardless of whether you are an employee or self employed – depend on where you are located. For example, the relevant laws are different in the United States than they are in Europe. In the United States, they are different between states; in Europe, some laws are different in different countries, especially regarding the rights of employees. […].