Meta can be sued in Kenya over alleged unlawful dismissals and blacklisting moderators, court rules
A Kenyan court has ruled that Meta can be prosecuted in the East African country for alleged unlawful dismissal and blacklisting of content moderators, and dismissed the social media giant’s request to have the application dismissed. ‘affair.
Meta Platforms Inc and Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd wanted the case quashed on the grounds that they are foreign companies and Kenyan courts lack jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate claims against them.
Meta and its sub-Saharan Africa content review partners, Sama and Majorel, have been sued in the Kenyas by 183 content moderators. The moderators claim they were illegally fired by Sama and that Meta asked its new Luxembourg-based partner, Majorel, to blacklist Sama’s former content moderators.
The court said it had “jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter of alleged unlawful and unjust dismissal for cause of dismissal” by Meta and Sama. He also said he had the power “to enforce alleged violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms” by Meta, Sama and Majorel.
“This dispute arises out of an employer-employee dispute. The tribunal will consider the nature and extent of liability with respect to offenses and alleged breaches of the Constitution arising out of and/or relating to employment and labor relations in Kenya,” the labor relations tribunal added. .
“It is in the Court’s carefully considered conclusion that it matters little whether the alleged violations occur in a physical or virtual space within the jurisdiction of this Court in Kenya.” The ruling now clears the way for a full hearing.
The court also upheld interim orders issued in mid-March temporarily prohibiting Meta from hiring its new content moderation contractor, Majorel, and Sama from proceeding with any form of termination pending the decision of the case. . Sama has since sent moderators on permanent leave, leaving Meta content review in Sub-Saharan Africa in limbo.
The moderators claim that Sama did not issue a dismissal notice, as required by Kenyan law, and that their terminal charges were pegged to their signing non-disclosure documents.
Sama argues that he followed the law and communicated the decision to discontinue content moderation at a public meeting, as well as through email and notification letters.
Sama laid off its employees late last month after cutting its content moderation arm to focus on tagging work (computer vision data annotation), laying off 260 moderators at its hub in Kenya, which hosted moderators from various African countries.
Meta and Sama are also facing another case involving allegations of exploitation and union busting. Some Ethiopians have also sued the social media giant for amplifying hateful content and not having enough staff, understanding local languages, to moderate the content.
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