Twitter Accused of Ducking Legal Fight Over Musk's Mass Layoffs | Tech News

Twitter Accused of Ducking Legal Fight Over Musk's Mass Layoffs

About 2,000 former Twitter employees have resorted to fighting their claims in arbitration as the company has demanded — but Twitter hasn’t shown up, according to a complaint filed Monday in San Francisco federal court.

By:BLOOMBERG
| Updated on: Jul 04 2023, 09:49 IST
Elon Musk Twitter Bankruptcy Talk: Timeline
Twitter
1/13 He’s told employees to brace themselves for long hours, that “the road ahead is arduous and will require intense work to succeed,” and said bankruptcy was possible. Here’s how the saga is unfolding: (Bloomberg)
Twitter
2/13 Oct. 27: Musk takes control- His first act is to fire the Board along with CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, head of legal Vijaya Gadde and Counsel Sean Edgett. Musk forms advisory team that includes celebrity attorney Alex Spiro, VC David Sacks, Neuralink CEO and head of Musk’s family office Jared Birchall, investor Jason Calacanis, and partner of Andreessen Horowitz Sriram Krishnan. (Reuters)
Twitter
3/13 Oct. 28: Brands begin to take pause- As Musk plans to unban accounts and says he will charge for user verification, advertisers suspend ads. (AFP)
Twitter
4/13 Oct. 31: Top tweeters protest- Amid murmurings of plans to charge existing verified accounts, author Steven King tweets, “$20 a month to keep my blue check? F**k that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.” (AFP)
Twitter
5/13 Nov. 1: Teams working around the clock- The product team works over the weekend on Musk’s idea to charge users for blue check marks. A photo of product director Esther Crawford sleeping on the floor of a conference room, trying to make the deadline, goes viral. Meanwhile, managers are asked to make lists of who can be fired. Employees print out their software code for review by Musk and engineers from Tesla, to determine if their contributions are worthy of keeping a job. (REUTERS)
Twitter
6/13 Nov. 3: Massive layoffs begin- A memo is sent to all employees telling them of imminent layoffs and to watch for an email with the subject line: “Your Role at Twitter.” Badge access to offices is suspended as 3,700 staffers receive word that they’ve been cut. Realizing employees essential for the continuity of the business have been let go by mistake, some are asked to come back. (AP)
Twitter
7/13 Co-founder EV Williams tweets, “Heart’s out to the tweeps getting laid off today.” Co-founder Jack Dorsey adds, “I realize many are angry with me. I own the responsibility for why everyone is in this situation: I grew the company size too quickly. I apologize for that.” (REUTERS)
image caption
8/13 Nov. 5-6: Musk responds to celebrity protests- Unrest grows on the platform over the weekend, particularly over the issue of impersonator accounts. Actress Valerie Bertinelli starts a movement of people changing their Twitter names to “Elon Musk.” Comedian Kathy Griffin joins the protest, finds her account locked. Then Musk announces, “Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying `parody’ will be permanently suspended.” (AP)
Twitter
9/13 Nov. 8: Musk sells more Tesla- Despite a previous vow not to sell any more Tesla stock, Musk sells an additional $3.95 billion, bringing the total sold in past year to $36 billion. (REUTERS)
Twitter
10/13 Nov. 9: Musk Blue tick mark- Blue check mark option becomes available for purchase, and immediately becomes a tool for impersonators. An account masquerading as Nintendo Inc. posts an image of Super Mario holding up a middle finger. (REUTERS)
Twitter
11/13 Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, and a close cadre of advisers are considering a host of changes to the way Twitter is run and makes money. (REUTERS)
Twitter
12/13 Nov. 10: More key executives quit as Musk warns of bankruptcy- In his first meeting with employees, Musk tells them to brace for 80-hour weeks and requires everyone back in the office full time. He also says bankruptcy for the company is not out of the question if it doesn’t start generating more cash. Several executives in charge of keeping Twitter safe and accountable to its users quit, including chief information security officer Lea Kissner, chief privacy officer Damien Kieran and chief compliance Marianne Fogarty.. (AFP)
Twitter
13/13 Nov. 11: Verified accounts get “Official” tags- Twitter adds badges that say “offiical” to verified accounts in some places, though confusion abounds. More brands depart the platform. (REUTERS)
Twitter
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Shannon Liss-Riordan, a lawyer representing former Twitter employees in several suits against the company, has continued to file arbitrations on behalf of individual workers. (REUTERS)

Twitter Inc. is refusing to engage in arbitration with ex-employees who were fired when Elon Musk took over the company after pushing them to use that process to resolve claims that they weren't paid, didn't get promised severance, or were discriminated against, according to a lawsuit.

The company now known as X Corp. has been accused in multiple suits of numerous labor and workplace violations, including its failure to pay thousands of workers laid off late last year after Musk's acquisition. About 2,000 former Twitter employees have resorted to fighting their claims in arbitration as the company has demanded — but Twitter hasn't shown up, according to a complaint filed Monday in San Francisco federal court.

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The social media platform won a ruling in January requiring workers who had signed arbitration agreements to resolve their grievances in closed-door hearings overseen by private judges instead of through a class-action lawsuit in open court. It's the legal equivalent of hand-to-hand combat, usually against a better-armed and financed opponent. Studies have shown that a benefit for companies is that workers will often give up rather than pursue their fight in arbitration.

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Shannon Liss-Riordan, a lawyer representing former Twitter employees in several suits against the company, has continued to file arbitrations on behalf of individual workers.

Twitter is refusing to pay the fees for the arbitrations, as required by its employment agreements, according to the complaint. Twitter is further hurting its former employees in its “failure, neglect, and refusal to arbitrate under its own written agreement,” according to the complaint.

Twitter declined to comment.

The case is Fabien Ho Ching Ma v. Twitter, 23-cv-03301, US District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

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First Published Date: 04 Jul, 07:15 IST
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