Employees who were fired in a flurry of restructuring and cost-cutting by Twitter’s new CEO Elon Musk in the last few days are suing. Since his Twitter stake was first revealed months ago, Musk has hinted that he will lay off employees. According to reports, Musk intends to lay off up to half of Twitter’s entire workforce, beginning today.
However, it is the method of firing employees that is causing the most controversy, with many calling it callous and in violation of standard policies. Employees had been bracing for layoffs since Musk signed the final acquisition papers last week, but the sudden access cuts have left many perplexed. Some employees awoke to find that they had been kicked off Twitter’s internal Slack, Gmail, and other proprietary software services used in the office, and that their laptops had been remotely wiped.
The “Red Wedding” of Twitter’s top executives and the entire board has already sparked speculation about a lengthy legal battle, but the floodgates of legal action have already opened, according to a CNBC report. “Five current or former Twitter employees filed the class-action lawsuit in San Francisco federal court on Thursday,” according to the report.
The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) is at the heart of the lawsuits, as it prohibits employers from firing employees without providing them with 60 days’ notice. Lisa Bloom, attorney and owner of The Bloom Firm, tweeted that if the number of layoffs exceeds 50 in a 30-day period, employees must be given a warning under California state law.
The lawsuits, in addition to the federal WARN Act, target Twitter for violating the California WARN Act. The complaint also seeks to prevent Twitter from evading WARN directives by asking laid-off employees to sign separation papers, potentially depriving them of their legal employment rights.
Shannon Liss-Riordan, who filed the complaint and has previously fought Tesla in court, told Bloomberg that the lawsuit is intended to “ensure that employees are aware that they should not sign away their rights and that they have an avenue for pursuing their rights.” Twitter has yet to respond officially to the lawsuits filed against the company.