The case of Alba Renai at Mediaset: can she be fired so {that a} robotic can take her place? | Business | EUROtoday

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Alba Renai is a influencer digital created by synthetic intelligence that has joined the Mediaset España group of presenters to cowl the actuality of TV Survivors 2024. The community has given him an area in this system that’s broadcast on Telecinco beneath the identify Supersecrets with Alba Renai and its position is to supply unique content material concerning the survival of the contestants. This case has opened the talk about whether or not machines will actually find yourself taking up the labor market. “It never gets sick and it is cheaper”, “AI is going to destroy many job offers” or “we are going to end up extinct” are among the reactions that individuals specific on social networks.

The fact is that changing flesh and blood workers with robots is nothing new. ATMs in supermarkets, digital ticket cubicles to purchase a film ticket or tin waiters who’re in command of taking orders to clients are examples of how machines assault the labor market.

But is it actually authorized to switch human beings with machines? Spanish laws permits an organization to dispense with its workforce and exchange it with robots if the trigger is because of duly justified technical or technological points. That is, when adjustments happen within the manufacturing instruments of firms to amortize, for instance, jobs that don’t require as a lot labor.

So that the substitute of an worker with a machine is just not a supply of judicial conflicts, Sandra Girón, labor companion at ETL Global, explains that the corporate should show within the dismissal letter “the reasons that led it to make the decision.” and clarify intimately the explanations for the adjustments produced throughout the firm.” If it’s a collective dismissal, as was already seen in massive multinationals within the know-how sector (simply after the emergence of ChatGPT) resembling Google, Meta or Microsoft, the corporate “must deliver a technical report to the workers' representatives in the reasons for the termination are explained,” says the lawyer.

It is not enough to argue that the termination of a worker is justified by the entry of a machine into his or her workplace. For a court or tribunal to declare the dismissal as appropriate, it is necessary to “prove that this robotization has helped the company solve a problem or imbalance in the existing demand in the market,” says Raúl Rojas, labor partner at Ecija. Along these lines, adds Sandra Girón, in order to justify an individual or collective dismissal, it is essential that the incorporation of the machines to the work schedule “cause a real reduction in labor needs.” That is, the robot allows “improving quality, reducing work times and increasing productive performance” and demonstrates that it is not necessary to have some of the staff on the payroll.

Change of position

But be careful, just because machines improve a company's efficiency does not mean that dismissal is justified. The boss could propose other alternatives before opting to terminate the worker. For example, relocating the employee to another position or training him to adapt to the new technologies that the company requires.

This is what happened in a labor discussion that was resolved by the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid in 2019, which declared as inadmissible the dismissal of nine workers who operated in a company in the publishing and printing industry sector, after being replaced by machines. The justices reasoned that including a robot to improve productivity was not, in and of itself, a compelling reason to terminate workers. The key, the magistrates stressed, is that the workers could still carry out tasks within the company, even if their positions had been absorbed by machines.

There are cases of digitalization of the company, says Rojas, in which the termination is not to “amortize a job, however slightly because of the employee's lack of ability to adapt to stated adjustments.” And to recognize the origin of the dismissal, the company must previously offer the employee “specific training aimed at facilitating his adaptation to these technological modifications.” Such as, for example, a course to use a new computer system. If the worker does not get used to the changes, then the dismissal will be appropriate.

Although at the moment there is no law in Spain that expressly prohibits the dismissal of humans to replace them with machines, the assessment of Ana Muñoz, professor of Labor and Social Security Law at the Carlos III University, is that Judicial records tend to protect workers at these crossroads. This was done, for example, by a social court in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in a 2019 ruling in which the dismissal of a worker from a tourism multinational who was replaced by a machine was declared inadmissible. The magistrates ruled in favor of the employee because the company could not demonstrate that the robot's entry increased the company's productivity.

In Muñoz's opinion, the matters that the courts have resolved so far, such as the examples cited, delve into the idea that “the replacement of human employees by virtual workers cannot be a fair cause for an objective dismissal, because it Otherwise, it would imply underestimating and minimizing the right to work.”

High risk

Many companies are already turning to artificial intelligence to cover functions that the head of a company could perform. Personnel selection, professional promotion or termination of contracts are some examples. According to the recent European law on artificial intelligence, these are “high risk” activities because this tool operates using algorithms that may be biased. Which could clash with some fundamental rights such as non-discrimination based on age, sex, origin or disability. Isabela Crespo, a technology expert lawyer at Gómez Acebo & Pombo, highlights the need for companies to take some legal precautions and control the use of these systems to avoid falling into illegalities.

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