Majorel Kenya, a business process outsourcing (BPO) company, is set to lay off 200 employees out of its 1,200 workforce due to the termination of a content moderation contract with social media giant Meta. The company officially confirmed the layoffs through an email to TechCabal, citing a “potential redundancy process” that will affect approximately 200 employees in Nairobi.
The layoff is a consequence of “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 explicitly name the client, credible sources and previous reports by TechCabal indicate that the client in question is Meta.
The sequence of events leading to these layoffs began in January 2023 when Sama, Meta’s content moderation partner in Africa, announced the discontinuation of its partnership with Meta, resulting in the termination of 260 content moderator positions. Subsequently, 43 of these moderators challenged their dismissals in court. During this lawsuit, Meta transitioned its moderation business to Majorel but encountered additional legal complications.
In March 2023, a Kenyan court issued an emergency order preventing Sama from terminating the moderators and Meta from engaging a new content moderation partner, implicating Majorel. Majorel also faced legal action as former moderators alleged discrimination when applying for positions at Majorel based on their prior experience with Sama. Part of the claim in this lawsuit is that Meta insisted Majorel should not employ any moderators released by Sama.
Meta has consistently argued that the Employment and Labour Relations Court lacks jurisdiction in this matter. Both Sama and Meta have appealed the court’s ruling, and the lawsuit remains ongoing. Efforts to reach an out-of-court settlement with the terminated moderators have reportedly stalled.
Majorel’s withdrawal from content moderation for Meta results in the loss of jobs for approximately 200 employees. The affected employees are expected to depart in mid-November, as confirmed by Majorel in an email to TechCabal. Some affected workers are reportedly considering legal action against Majorel, primarily concerning their severance pay. According to reports, certain employees were on new part-time contracts to secure client deals, entitling them to only one month’s salary as an exit package, in contrast to the standard three months. The affected employees are seeking more substantial severance packages.
Additionally, Majorel will relocate some of its workers from the Nairobi office to Mombasa. Teams handling the Bolt business have been instructed to report to their new workstations before year-end. However, there are concerns among employees regarding the relocation, as some feel it’s too far, and Majorel hasn’t provided adequate resources for the move.
It’s worth noting that Majorel is offering KES 20,000 (approximately $134) for the relocation process, which some sources suggest might be intended to encourage certain employees to resign.