Following a court order in March restraining Majorel from going on with a Meta content moderation contract, the company has begun laying off 200 employees.  

Majorel Kenya, a business process outsourcing (BPO) company, has begun a redundancy process and will lay off 200 of its 1,200 employees after losing a content moderation contract from social media giant Meta. The company confirmed the layoffs in an email to TechCabal today. “Unfortunately, and after careful consideration, we notified approximately 200 of our employees in Nairobi of the commencement of a potential redundancy process.” 

Per Majorel’s email, the layoffs result from “restrictions placed on Majorel from proceeding with a particular client contract due to a court order that has been in place since March 2023.” While Majorel did not mention the client’s name, reliable sources and previous TechCabal reports show that the client is the social media company Meta. 

In January 2023, Meta’s content moderation partner in Africa, Sama, announced it would close that part of its business, effectively ending its contract with Meta. The move led to the dismissal of 260 content moderators. Forty-three of those moderators went to court to challenge their dismissal by Sama and Meta. While that lawsuit was ongoing, Meta moved its moderation business to Majorel, but soon got into more trouble.

In March 2023, a Kenyan court granted an emergency order preventing Sama from firing the moderators and Meta from hiring a new content moderation partner. Majorel also became caught up in a lawsuit after the former moderators said they were discriminated against when they applied for new jobs at Majorel solely because of their earlier work experience with Sama. Part of the claims in that lawsuit is that Meta insisted that Majorel should not hire any moderator let go by Sama. 

Meta has repeatedly argued that the Employment and Labour Relations Court does not have jurisdiction to rule on the matter. Sama and Meta have appealed the ruling, and the lawsuit is continuing. Techcrunch reported that attempts to settle the issue out of court with the sacked moderators stalled this week. Per Techcrunch, “The attorney representing the moderators told the court that the mediation was not successful as they “felt there was no genuine effort from the respondents [Meta, Sama and Majorel] to reach an out-of-court settlement.”

Majorel’s exit from content moderation for Meta means that about 200 employees will lose their jobs. A source familiar with the matter told TechCabal that affected employees will leave in mid-November; Majorel confirmed this timeline in an email to TechCabal. Two sources said some of the affected workers are waiting for the end of the redundancy process before considering possible legal action against Majorel.

At the heart of this potential lawsuit are some workers as part of their severance pay. Majorel reportedly had some employees on new part-time contracts to secure new client deals. Those employees who signed the part-time contract will only receive one month’s salary as an exit package instead of the usual three months. The same source said the affected employees are seeking a more substantial severance.

Some employees will be relocated to Mombasa

Majorel will also relocate some of its workers from the Nairobi office to Mombasa. The affected groups responsible for handling the Bolt business have been instructed to report to their new workstations before the end of the year. One current employee told TechCabal that they wouldn’t be relocating to the new office because it’s too far, and the company hasn’t provided them with sufficient resources for relocation. 

According to employees, Majorel is offering KES 20,000 (about $134) for the relocation exercise. Another source suggested that Majorel is implementing this change to nudge some employees to resign.

Kenn Abuya Senior Reporter

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