Facebook’s parent company, Meta, now wants a case filed at a Nairobi court accusing the company of exploiting its Kenyan employees dismissed.
In an application filed under a certificate of urgency before the Employment and Labour Relations Court, the social media giant says the court has no jurisdiction to hear the suit alleging exploitation and poor working conditions of its content moderators at the Nairobi hub.
Meta wants the court to strike out their name in the petition lodged by Samasource ex-employee, Daniel Motaung who sued both firms saying they cannot be sued in Kenya.
Through Senior lawyer Fred Ojiambo, Meta states that the petition against it is incompetent, bad in law and unsustainable as the provisions of the constitution of Kenya do not apply to the firm in the circumstances of the case before the court.
Lawyer Ojiambo argues that the Meta platforms Inc and Meta platforms Ireland limited who are listed as respondents in the case by Motaung, are foreign corporations that are neither resident, domiciled not trading in Kenya and the Labour Court in Nairobi has no jurisdiction over them.
"That the petition herein against the Meta platforms inc and Meta platforms Ireland limited be struck out and wholly dismissed as this Honourable Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the petition against the two jointly and severally," Court papers read in part.
The new development comes after Motaung, a former moderator working for Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O) on May 10, 2022 filed a lawsuit alleging that poor working conditions for contracted content moderators violate the Kenyan constitution.
The petition, also filed against Meta's local outsourcing company, Sama, alleges that workers moderating Facebook posts in Kenya have been subjected to unreasonable working conditions including irregular pay, inadequate mental health support, union-busting, and violations of their privacy and dignity.
The lawsuit by Motaung seeks financial compensation, an order that outsourced moderators have the same health care and pay scale as Meta employees, that unionization rights be protected, and an independent human rights audit of the office.
It is alleged that Sama had breached a number of rights including the health and privacy of its Kenyan and international staff.
The former employee, Motaung, stated in his court papers that “Sama and Meta acted negligently. They failed to provide adequate safety and mental well-being precautions, exposing the workers to risk, danger and injury.”