New day, new Elon Musk story.
Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) was sued over Musk’s intention to lay off approximately 3,700 people at the social media platform, which workers claim is being carried out without enough notice, in violation of federal and California law.
On late Thursday, the company sent out an email to all employees, unconventionally letting them know about the prospects of their employment. The workers would receive an email with the subject line: “Your Role at Twitter” by Friday morning; those who will be fired will receive it on their personal email accounts.
“Team, In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday,” the email said. “We recognize that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success moving forward.”
“Given the nature of our distributed workforce and our desire to inform impacted individuals as quickly as possible, communications for this process will take place via email,” the notice added.
In response to the email, scores of Twitter employees tweeted a single blue heart as a farewell to their coworkers. Some employees had already lost access to internal systems like as email and the messaging tool Slack, and those present Thursday described witnessing the impact in real time.
With the breeze of the process of sacking employees, a preemptive class-action complaint was filed in federal court in San Francisco on Thursday requesting the court to issue an order directing Twitter to comply with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) and prohibiting the firm from asking employees to sign agreements that could waive their ability to engage in litigation.
“We filed this lawsuit tonight in an attempt the make sure that employees are aware that they should not sign away their rights and that they have an avenue for pursuing their rights,” Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney who filed the complaint, said in an interview.
The federal law cited prohibits large corporations from conducting mass layoffs without providing at least 60 days’ notice.
Musk, who billed himself in his account bio as Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator, has long maintained the unrealized potential of the firm given its workforce size. In one of the revealed text conversations during the legal battle between the Tesla chief and the Twitter board, self-proclaimed Musk fan Jason Calacanis made the math for the billionaire showing how the platform would be more cost-efficient and aligned with “industry standard” if it had around 3,000 employees only.
Firing employees was also Musk’s first day act at the Twitter helm when he sacked top executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal policy, trust, and safety.
However, it seems the new “chief Twit” would get himself out of paying their severance packages as they were reportedly terminated “for cause,” avoiding providing the executives a “golden parachute” clause equivalent to US$204 million in compensation and stock awards according to a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
As for the current round of layoffs, once the dust settled on Friday evening, Musk commented that “unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day,” which he followed up by stating that those that exited received 3 months of severance.
Musk is also not new to mass firing employees. Liss-Riordan filed a similar lawsuit against Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) in June, when Musk’s electric-car company laid off nearly 10% of its workers.
Tesla won the case in federal court in Texas, requiring the workers in that case to pursue their claims in closed-door arbitration rather than open court.
Information for this briefing was found via Bloomberg, The Washington Post, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.