Musk’s X faces thousands of arbitration cases, chooses to stall

X, formerly known as Twitter, is facing 2,200 arbitration cases filed by ex-employees after Elon Musk took over the company. What’s more, X hasn’t yet paid the necessary fees.

Ex-employees of Twitter, recently renamed to X, filed the cases after Musk laid off thousands of them. The filing fees alone for that many cases could amount to $3.5 million, NBC News said.

The numbers were revealed in a new filing as part of a lawsuit in a Delaware district court. In his suit, Chris Woodfield, a former senior staff network engineer at X, says that the company failed to pay his severance.

X then delayed an alternative dispute resolution by failing to pay the necessary fees required for him to move ahead in the JAMS arbitration system.

The website of JAMS, the world's largest private alternative dispute resolution provider, says that “for two-party matters, the Filing Fee is $2,000.”

“For matters based on a clause or agreement that is required as a condition of employment, the employee is only required to pay $400,” the company also says.

JAMS decided that this basic fee applies across the board to X’s 2,200 arbitration cases. Thus, that would amount to around $3.5 million, with other fees possibly to follow.

The timeline presented in the filing clearly shows that X’s lawyers – who say that the firm should not pay the larger portion of the filing fees – are stalling.

That’s because it’s precisely arbitration that Woodfield and others in a similar situation are trying to get out of. Twitter’s ex-employees say the company pushed them to use this particular process to resolve claims that they weren’t paid.

In the US, workers who sign an arbitration agreement upon employment, need to get an exemption from a judge if they want to be able to speak freely in court.

Unsurprisingly, critics say arbitration is a secretive system, thanks to which employees and potential hires cannot possibly know how companies treat their workers. But Musk doesn’t even want arbitration, it seems.

This summer in California, the billionaire ghosted another arbitration fight with his former employees over their claims.

In that case, the plaintiffs said that X delayed at least 891 arbitration cases by failing to pay the required filing fees. Before that, the firm compelled employees to agree to arbitrate their disputes in exchange for severance.

The pending lawsuits make various claims, including that Twitter targeted women and workers with disabilities for layoffs, reneged on severance agreements, and failed to give advance notice of layoffs required by federal and state laws. Twitter – now X – has denied wrongdoing in the cases in which it has filed responses.

In June 2023, the company was also sued for allegedly failing to pay workers millions of dollars in promised bonuses.

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