Elon Musk, the newly-minted owner of Twitter, is busy organizing mass layoffs of workers. But the world’s richest man might soon need to divide his precious time as Twitter faces a lawsuit from its employees.
Twitter offices are closed on Friday as thousands of employees are being told by email whether they’re laid off or not. But some of them are not sitting idle.
A class action lawsuit was filed on Thursday night in San Francisco federal court against Twitter by its employees. They argue that the company is violating federal and California law as it is not providing the required 60-day advance notice.
The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act restricts large US companies from initiating mass layoffs without at least 60 days of advance notice.
The lawsuit is asking the court to issue an order requiring Twitter to obey the WARN Act. As a follow-up, it’s requesting the court to restrict the company from soliciting employees to sign documents that could give up their right to participate in litigation.
“We will now see if he is going to continue to thumb his nose at the laws of this country that protect employees,” Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, who filed the lawsuit, said in a statement to Bloomberg, which first reported the news.
“It appears that he’s repeating the same playbook of what he did at Tesla.”
Liss-Riordan had sued Musk before – in June, when Tesla, also owned by the billionaire, laid off about 10% of its workforce.
However, back then, Tesla won a ruling from a federal judge in Austin, Texas, forcing workers to pursue their claims in closed-door arbitration rather than in open court. Musk himself called the Tesla lawsuit “trivial.”
Musk is finishing up a chaotic week at Twitter with mass emails to thousands of workers on Friday morning.
The billionaire, who says he needs to slash costs at the company which he acquired for $44 billion in late October, has said he wanted to get rid of half the workforce – about 3,700 jobs in total.
Twitter headquarters in San Francisco is closed on Friday, and employees are being informed by email whether they’ll be able to stay at the company. Some of the workers have already been cut off from access to the company’s accounts.
Musk's first week as Twitter's owner had been marked by chaos and uncertainty. For example, two company-wide meetings were scheduled, only to be canceled hours later.
Employees shared that they were left to piece together information through media reports, private messaging groups, and anonymous forums.