A Spanish YouTuber, known as Jota, is suing Google Spain for wrongful dismissal, according to the Spanish union UGT. The lawsuit aims to establish an employment relationship between Jota and YouTube. The argument explains how Jota regularly provided services and received remuneration through advertising revenue.

The allegations

In August of 2023, Jota’s YouTube channel called “Último Bastión” had its advertising revenue blocked by Google Spain. Not only that, the company also allegedly withdrew funds from Jota’s YouTube payments account. Jota’s lawyer, Bernardo Garcia, argues that this move constitutes a severance of the employment relationship. Garcia has petitioned the court to classify the association between Jota and YouTube as “wrongful.”

The reasons why YouTube decided to cut advertising revenue from Jota’s channel are still unknown. Garcia and the UGT haven’t commented on this matter. 

Google responds

Google Spain asserts that content creators aren’t employees. They also stated that Jota’s channel didn’t comply with the monetization policies YouTube set. “We are deeply committed to the success of creators, which is why we share the majority of revenues with them. However, they are not employees of YouTube according to the nature of the relationship.” Google Spain said.

A hearing for the case is scheduled on June 26, 2024, in a Madrid court. 

Union’s stance

UGT (Unión General de Trabajadores), the Spanish union involved in the case, expresses its commitment to fighting false self-employment and dangerous labor conditions enforced by tech giants. Eduardo Magaldi, UGT’s spokesperson, notes that while the gig economy may be a new concept, the concept remains the same.

As all this unfolds, it stands to become a landmark case, potentially influencing how the labor rights of content creators are defined in the digital era, and shedding light on the ongoing struggle between workers and tech giants in the evolving landscape of online content creation.