As Elon Musk started mass layoffs after taking over the business, Twitter was sued on Friday. However, do Twitter layoffs break US law?
Under the current ownership of Elon Musk, Twitter Inc. has also started to lay off staff members. As many as more than 3,700 employees, or half of its workforce, could be let go by the San Francisco-based social media giant on Friday, according to internal plans examined by Reuters this week. A class action lawsuit has been already filed against Twitter on the grounds that the current impending layoffs will be illegal under U.S. and California law if employees are also not given advance notice or severance pay.
WHAT IS REQUIRED BY US LAW?
Businesses with 100 or currently more employees are required by the federal Worker Adjustment and the Retraining Notification (WARN) Act to give the 60 days’ notice before also initiating mass layoffs. According to the law, mass layoffs are currently those that also affect at least more than 500 workers over the course of 30 days, or then at least 50 current workers if the current layoffs affect at least one-third of a company’s workforce. Instead of giving a new notice, employers may offer 60 days of severance pay to employees.
WHAT SANCTIONS ARE MEANT FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE WARN ACT?
If the WARN Act has been broken, an employer may be required to pay 60 days’ worth of back pay to employees who have been laid off. Additionally, the law imposes daily fines of $500 for each violation. Similar penalties are imposed by laws similar to those in California and other states.
WHO OR WHAT HAS ACCUSED TWITTER?
According to the lawsuit, which was also submitted late on Thursday to a new federal court in the San Francisco, Twitter locked out its employees’ accounts on that day and indicating that they would soon lose their jobs. A California-based plaintiff who is currently one of the five named plaintiffs claims he was also fired on November 1 without any warning or severance pay. If Twitter pays severance to employees who lose their jobs, it’s unclear at the time. A request for comment from Twitter did not immediately receive a response.
According to the lawsuit, the layoffs are against the WARN Act and a related California law. In exchange for meager severance pay, the plaintiffs claim that Twitter will ask employees who are being targeted for layoffs to sign releases waiving their right to sue.
HAS THE WARN ACT BEEN USED TO LITIGATE OTHER MUSK-RUN COMPANIES?
Tesla Inc. was also sued in federal court in Texas in the month June for allegedly breaking the current WARN Act when it currently fired 500 workers from a factory in Sparks, Nevada, among other locations across the country. Twitter employees who filed a lawsuit on Thursday are also represented by the Boston-based law firm Lichten & Liss-Riordan, which is prosecuting that case. An inquiry for comments was not immediately answered by the company. Tesla has claimed that by firing underperforming employees and also forgoing layoffs that required advance notice, it was merely “right-sizing.”
Has the number of WARN ACT lawsuits increased?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, employers faced an increase in lawsuits filed under the WARN Act and state laws as many companies abruptly closed or let many of their employees go. The WARN Act lawsuits concerning pandemic-related layoffs were all resolved by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, then Hertz Corp, restaurant chain Hooters, and also Florida hotel operator Rosen Hotels and Resorts Inc. 3,600 workers’ claims were resolved by Rosen for $2.3 million, and the Enterprise agreed to pay $175,000 to almost 1,000 workers’ claims. Unknown amounts were paid by Hertz and Hooters.
Have other Musk-owned businesses been the target of WARN Act lawsuits?
Tesla Inc. was also sued in federal court in Texas in June for allegedly breaking the current WARN Act when it abruptly fired 500 workers from a factory in Sparks, Nevada, among other locations across the country. Twitter employees who filed a lawsuit on Thursday are also represented by the Boston-based law firm Lichten & Liss-Riordan, which is prosecuting that case. An inquiry for comments was not immediately answered by the company. Tesla has claimed that by firing underperforming employees and also forgoing layoffs that required advance notice, it was merely “right-sizing.”
A federal judge ruled out last month that Tesla employees must pursue their claims through the private arbitration as was opposed to going to court. As more than half of the American workers in the main private sector have signed agreements to arbitrate the employment-related legal disputes, the same problem could arise in the lawsuit against Twitter.
Has the number of WARN Act lawsuits risen?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, employers faced an increase in lawsuits filed under the WARN Act and state laws as many companies abruptly closed or let many of their employees go. The WARN Act lawsuits concerning pandemic-related layoffs were all resolved by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, then Hertz Corp, restaurant chain Hooters, and also Florida hotel operator Rosen Hotels and Resorts Inc. 3,600 workers’ claims were resolved by Rosen for $2.3 million, and also Enterprise agreed to pay $175,000 to almost 1,000 workers’ claims. Unknown amounts were paid by Hertz and Hooters.
Twitter Starts Firing Employees In India, All In Marketing-
According to sources who spoke to NDTV, Twitter made a large-scale announcement of job cuts on Friday that affected all verticals also including engineers and the entire marketing and communications department. The dismissals are a part of a global restructuring that Elon Musk who is the new owner of the social media platform, ordered.
Although the precise number of layoffs was not immediately known, sources claimed that, aside from the two departments that were dissolved, employees in the sales, engineering, and partnerships divisions were “affected.” According to sources, more than half of Twitter’s 200-person India workforce has been let go overall.
According to a source, “some people in the current sales and engineering department have been retained.” According to reports, some employees would receive severance pay for a period of two months as a result of a lawsuit in California.
Shannon Liss-Riordan, an attorney who on Thursday filed a class-action lawsuit in California, stated that it appeared as though the employees were receiving their notices and that at least some of them would receive payment through January 4. “I am happy that Elon Musk is making an great effort to comply with the WARN Act and that he has taken something away from the lawsuit we filed against him at Tesla. In order to prevent a repeat of that violation, we brought this lawsuit.
The action comes after a week of uncertainty regarding the company’s future under Elon Musk, who started his tenure at Twitter last week by announcing plans to charge $8 per month for a verified account and firing the CEO Parag Agrawal among other top executives.
Twitter India has not yet released a statement or answered a comment request.
After informing staff that they would receive notification of their employment status via email later in the day, the company temporarily closed all of its offices around the world on Friday.
According to news agency Reuters, the email sent on Thursday stated that “in an effort to put Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday.”
According to internal plans examined by Reuters this week, Mr. Musk, the richest man in the world, intends to lay off 3,700 Twitter employees, or roughly half the workforce, in order to reduce costs and impose a rigorous new work ethic.
According to tweets from Twitter employees on Friday, the content moderation team of the company is anticipated to be a target of the cuts. Mr. Musk has pledged to protect free speech from turning into a “hellscape” while restoring it.
Using the hashtag #OneTeam, Twitter employees expressed their anger about the layoffs on the social media platform.
Now that they have been fired, people are telling the world. Currently, there are many former Twitter employees talking about their job loss on both LinkedIn and Twitter.
“#AlwaysATweepNeverATwit that’s it that’s the tweet,” tweeted Pallavi Walia, who oversaw Twitter’s Indian communications team. Her tweet is a satirical response to Elon Musk, who for a short time after purchasing Twitter last week, changed his Twitter bio to read “chief twit.”
Pallavi isn’t by herself. I recently lost my job at Twitter. Bird App, it was an honor and the greatest privilege of all time to be a part of this team and this culture. Former Twitter public policy employee Yash Agarwal made a note on both LinkedIn and Twitter.
It’s been an honor to be a part of this team and this organization, wrote Shifalika Yogi, a client account manager at Twitter. I’m incredibly grateful to be able to call you all my friends and colleagues. It’s been an incredible journey.
Hours earlier, Twitter had stated in a rather impersonal and cold email—which wasn’t even signed—that employees would be informed of their employment status by 9.30pm India time. Twitter had stated in the email that employees will be contacted on their official Twitter IDs if they keep their jobs, whereas employees who lose their jobs will be contacted on their personal IDs. This is happening right now.
A trio of emails
India Today, Tech learned that Twitter employees are currently receiving three different types of emails. One email is for those who have survived, one is for those who have been fired, and a third is for those whose employment futures are still uncertain.
Emails are sent to those Elon Musk and his team are keeping via their official Twitter ID. Thank you for your understanding during this transition and for your dedication to the crucial work you do at Twitter, according to this email. We’re sending you this email to let you know that the workforce reduction we announced today won’t have an impact on your employment.
We are aware that you probably have many inquiries, and we will have more details to share the following week. Please be aware that until Monday, Birdhouse will be temporarily unavailable, our office buildings will be closed, and all badge access will be suspended. On Monday, offices will reopen.