Kenya: Court Suspends Mass Layoff of Facebook Moderators

Nairobi — A Kenyan court on Friday ordered the suspension of the mass sacking of scores of content moderators by a subcontractor for Facebook’s parent company Meta and directed the social media giant to provide counseling to the employees.

A total of 184 moderators employed in Nairobi by Sama, an outsourcing firm for Meta, filed a lawsuit in March, claiming their dismissal was “unlawful”.

In a 142-page ruling, labor court judge Byram Ongaya said Meta and Sama were “restrained from terminating the contracts” pending the determination of the lawsuit challenging the legality of the dismissal.

“An interim order is hereby issued that any contracts that were to lapse before the determination of the petition be extended” until the case is settled, the judge added.

Ongaya also barred Facebook’s new outsourcing firm, Luxembourg-headquartered Majorel, from blacklisting the moderators from applying for the same roles.

Meta — which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp — was also ordered to “provide proper medical, psychiatric and psychological care for the petitioners and other Facebook content moderators”.

The company told the court of its intention to appeal the ruling.

The California-based tech behemoth has held that it has no official presence in the East African country and that the complainants are not employed by Meta.

The petitioners’ lawyer, Mercy Mutemi, said it was “critical that the court has found Facebook is the true employer of its moderators”, adding that they were “very pleased” with the orders

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