Meta fails at work conditions case

By AFP
February 07, 2023

NAIROBI: A Kenyan court on Monday rejected a bid by Facebook’s parent company Meta to stop a lawsuit accusing it of exploitation and poor working conditions.

The case was brought by a former content moderator at Sama, a company contracted by Meta to review Facebook posts, and alleges that workers in Kenya were subjected to inhumane conditions, including forced labour, irregular pay and no right to unionise.

Meta sought to have the case struck down, arguing that the local employment and labour relations court had no jurisdiction over it because it is neither based in nor trades in Kenya. But High Court judge Jacob Gakeri on Monday dismissed the request.

“My finding is that (the) second and third respondent shall not be struck from the proceeding,” Gakeri said, referring to Meta Platforms Inc and Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd.

The judge said the companies were “proper parties” in the case, with the court now due to meet on March 8 to discuss how it will proceed to a hearing.

Meta could not be immediately reached for comment. British-based legal activist firm Foxglove, which is supporting the case, said it was “extremely pleased” with the ruling. “We think it’s right that this trial be heard in Kenya, where the abuses happened,” Foxglove director Cori Crider said in a statement.

Amnesty International Kenya also welcomed the decision, saying it was “a significant step that ensures the authority of Kenyan courts to protect and enforce fundamental human rights.”