Facebook owner Meta now claims that the High Court wrongly assumed jurisdiction over a foreign company by allowing a South African who has sued the giant firm to proceed with his case.
Meta Platforms Inc and Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd says in submissions filed in court that South African Daniel Motaung, failed to meet the legal threshold, in order for the court to exercise its powers and allow him to serve the foreign firms with the court documents.
The Employment and Labour court had in February allowed the South African to pursue the compensation case but Meta says Mr Motaung did not meet the procedural requirements so that the court might allow him to serve the foreign firms, with offices outside Kenya.
“In the case at hand, as it is an agreed fact that the 2nd and 3rd respondents are foreign corporates, Kenyan law cannot apply to them. There is no permissive law that allows this court to exercise jurisdiction beyond territorial limits over the 2nd and 3rd respondents,” Meta says in court documents.
The case will be heard on April 17 before Justice Jacob Gakeri. The giant tech firm, however, says there is no contract between the parties permitting the court to assume jurisdiction over Meta.
The South African was employed as a moderator by Meta’s local outsourcing company, Samasource Kenya EPZ Ltd.
He wants to be paid damages for the suffering he allegedly underwent in the six months he worked for the firm.
Mr Motaung says in reply that he tried without success to establish Meta’s official offices in Kenya and served Meta with the court documents using an internationally recognized courier service and through e-mail which would best serve his quest for justice.
He said he asked for the service to be carried out through an internationally recognised courier service provider and E-mail as allowed by court procedures.
“These two methods are not only relatively fast but are also verifiable. Any other method for international service would unnecessarily delay the hearing of the Petition further denying the Petitioner his right to an expeditious hearing of the petition,” Mr Motaung said through his lawyer Mercy Mutemi.
Ms Mutemi said his client filed the case in May 2022, almost a year ago and to date, it is yet to proceed and the fastest mode of service ought to be utilised.
In a ruling issued on February 6, Justice Jacob Gakeri declined to strike out Meta from the case and directed Mr Motaung to comply with provisions on service outside Kenya.
He said he has outlined his case by raising complaints including forced labour and human trafficking for labour, unfair labour relations and the failure by Samasource and Meta to provide adequate psychosocial support, thereby violating Facebook moderators’ rights.