Elon Musk’s Twitter faces lawsuit over upcoming mass layoffs

Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover has triggered a class-action lawsuit against the social media company. The lawsuit was filed on Thursday in a San Francisco court, with Twitter workers claiming that the company was violating federal and California law by terminating them without enough notice. 

A recently leaked email to Twitter employees has revealed that job cuts into the social media company’s workforce would be enacted on Friday. Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News noted that Elon Musk, Twitter’s new owner, is looking to slash costs at the platform. Musk had paid $44 billion to acquire Twitter and take it private. 

But while Musk is free to manage Twitter whichever way he sees fit, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act restricts large companies from initiating mass layoffs without at least 60 days of advance notice. As such, the class-action suit is asking the court to issue an order that would require Twitter to obey the WARN Act. 

The suit also asked the court to restrict the social media company from soliciting employees to sign documents that would end up blocking their rights to participate in a lawsuit. Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, who filed the complaint, noted that the lawsuit is a way to help Twitter’s workers. 

“We filed this lawsuit tonight in an attempt the make sure that employees are aware that they should not sign away their rights and that they have an avenue for pursuing their rights,” Liss-Riordan said. 

This is not the first time that Liss-Riordan has submitted a lawsuit against a company led by Elon Musk. In June, Liss-Riordan sued Tesla Inc. following the electric vehicle maker’s decision to trim its workforce by about 10%. During a discussion at the Qatar Economic Forum in the same month, Musk described the lawsuit as “trivial.” Tesla eventually won a ruling from a federal judge in Austin, which required the workers who participated in the case to pursue their claims in closed-door arbitration. 

Ultimately, Liss-Riordan noted that it would be interesting to see if Musk employs the same strategy that he adopted in Tesla for Twitter’s employees. “We will now see if he is going to continue to thumb his nose at the laws of this country that protect employees. It appears that he’s repeating the same playbook of what he did at Tesla,” the lawyer said. 

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