Science

Twitter still hasn’t sent layoff contracts, and ex-employees demand answers

When Twitter laid off about half of its 7,500 employees in early November 2022, new CEO Elon Musk stated that “all laid-off employees were offered three months’ severance pay, or 50% more than required by law.”

Although the fired employees received two months’ pay until January 4 (the official date they were fired), they did not know when they would receive severance pay after they were fired.

“I didn’t have any communication,” Helen-Sage Lee, a former Twitter employee, told Forbes on Thursday. “No communication from Twitter HQ regarding severance pay, separation agreements or next steps. »

Another former employee told Forbes that she, too, received “no severance pay and no information related to a federal benefit that allows former employees to stay on health insurance.”

While Musk has promised they’ll get an extra monthly salary as a severance pay, these workers say they’re actually owed a lot more, given that Twitter as a company had already agreed to pay before the acquisition of the billionaire. This exit package would also include bonuses, stock purchases, and other perks that could amount to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars per worker.

Neither Twitter attorney Eric Meckley nor Elon Musk himself responded to a Forbes request for comment.

Due to Twitter’s inaction, Boston-based lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan announced on Thursday that she has filed 100 more arbitration claims on behalf of former Twitter employees. Arbitration is a quasi-legal process that generally favors companies over individual employees, and many companies require employees to take their disputes to arbitration rather than to court.

The 100 new claims are in addition to four lawsuits, three complaints filed with the National Labor Relations Board and a previous round of 100 arbitration claims she and her firm have already filed, largely under similar laws.

In one of the lawsuits filed by Ms. Liss-Riordan, known as Cornet v. Twitter, a federal judge in San Francisco, ruled last month that the company must mention in its severance pay agreements for former employees that it is facing numerous pending class action lawsuits. However, Twitter has yet to do so. (Twitter also argued that the case should be dismissed on the grounds that it should be decided by arbitration – a San Francisco judge will hold a hearing on that particular issue later this month.)

If former employees sign a termination agreement—whatever that may be—they will likely give up their right to sue the company.

“It’s a big surprise they haven’t sent anything yet,” Liss-Riordan told Forbes. “We don’t know what Elon Musk thinks. »

Other attorneys in Los Angeles and New York also filed similar arbitration claims on behalf of former employees late last year.

Lisa Bloom, lead lawyer at her own Los Angeles-based firm, The Bloom Firm, which now represents former Twitter employees, told Forbes in an email that other clients of hers have had similar experiences.

“Twitter workers received their two months of uninterrupted base pay and some (but not all) of their benefits for two months, Nov. 4 to Jan. 4,” she wrote. “The promised third month never arrived. »

For her part, Ms. Liss-Riordan remains puzzled and noted the Twitter CEO’s tweets earlier Thursday. “The last tweet I saw from him was about Kevin McCarthy, so he’s really focused on his former employees,” she remarked ironically.

Article translated from Forbes US – Author: Cyrus Farivar

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