Facebook ordered to continue paying workers in Kenya
By Wanja Waweru
In Nairobi, a judge mandated that Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, continue paying its staff members responsible for content moderation while the case in question is being heard.
The orders were made by Justice Mathews Nderi Nduma of the Employment and Labour Relations, requiring Meta and the outsourcing firm Samasource Kenya EPZ Limited to pay the content moderators’ salaries prior to the case’s hearing on May 25, 2023.
The judge also gave the parties the chance to address the dispute outside of court by engaging in negotiations.
The court has now prohibited Meta from hiring more content moderators to take the place of the moderators who were scheduled for termination in March of this year.
The judge put a stop to Meta and Sama’s plans to fire every employee responsible for content moderation at the Sama offices in Nairobi as part of the social media company’s plan to reorganize its tech and business departments.
43 Facebook content moderators who were employed by Sama on behalf of Meta in March of this year filed the complaint in Kenya.
They claim that because the redundancy was not done in accordance with the tight guidelines outlined by the nation’s employment regulations, it was illegal.
Because “no genuine or justifiable reason was given for the redundancy,” the petitioners claimed that the practice was likewise illegal.
The court heard from the moderators that they had been offered conflicting and confused justifications for the redundancy that did not make sense.
The petitioners and all other content moderators had received letters of termination notifying them that their job contracts would end as a result of redundancy on March 31, 2023.
Court documents state that Meta hired Majorel Kenya Limited to find new content moderators to replace the ones hired through Sama.
On the specified day, at least 260 content moderators were scheduled to lose their positions.
The petitioners claim in the lawsuit that the redundancy is unlawful since there was insufficient notification was ever issued. They said that the notices issued on January 10, 2023, and January 18, 2023, were essentially termination letters.