A Kenyan judge ruled on Thursday that Facebook’s parent company Meta could be sued in the East African country after 43 moderators at its Nairobi hub last month filed a lawsuit against the group and its local partner Sama for unfair termination.
In response, Judge Matthews Nduma issued an interim injunction against Meta and Sama preventing them from terminating the moderators’ contracts, pending a judgement on the legality of their redundancy.
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“The court finds that this court has jurisdiction to determine the matter of alleged unlawful and unfair termination of employment on grounds of redundancy,” Nduma said on Thursday.
The 184 moderators in the petition said they were fired in retaliation for complaints about working conditions and attempts to form a union.
“I do this work because I believe in protecting people,” said Juanita Jones, one of the moderators. “Moderation is the front-line defence of the internet – and it is time to value the work like it, not treat it as some disposable, dead-end job.”
The moderators have said they were blacklisted from applying for the same roles at another outsourcing firm, Luxembourg-based Majorel, after Facebook switched contractors.
Meta, Sama and Majorel did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
In February, a Kenyan labour court ruled that Meta could be sued there after one former moderator at the Nairobi hub filed a lawsuit against it, alleging poor working conditions.