...By Larry John for TDPel Media.
Nearly 200 former employees of Sama, a subcontractor for Facebook’s parent company Meta, have filed a case in a Kenyan court claiming that they were unlawfully sacked.
The workers were employed in Nairobi as content moderators and were dismissed after Meta ended its contract with Sama.
Meta’s lawyers argue that the Employment and Labor Relations Court has no jurisdiction to rule against an entity that isn’t based in Kenya and that the complainants are not employed by Meta itself.
Jurisdiction of the Kenyan Court
However, Judge Mathews Nduma Nderi from the labor relations court disagreed and ruled that the court has jurisdiction to determine the matter of alleged unlawful and unfair termination of employment.
He also upheld an interim order suspending the decision to fire the subcontractors.
Meta has not commented on the ruling.
The employees have claimed discrimination by Meta and Majorel, which replaced Sama, saying that Sama employees who tried to get rehired by the new subcontractor had their applications blocked.
In addition to this case, Meta faces two other legal cases in Kenya, including a complaint against Meta and Sama filed by a former South African employee, and another complaint accusing Meta of failing to act against online hate speech in Africa.
The ruling of the Kenyan court comes as a victory for the former employees of Sama, who have been fighting against their dismissal for over a month.
The case highlights the need for social media companies like Facebook to be held accountable for the actions of their subcontractors.
The discrimination claims are also a reminder of the importance of fair treatment of employees, particularly in countries where labor laws may not be adequately enforced.
It remains to be seen how the case will unfold and whether Meta will be held liable for the alleged unfair termination of employment.