Twitter wants employee 'mass layoffs' claims dismissed

TECHNOLOGY
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  • Twitter is fighting a lawsuit from a group of employees whose layoffs will take effect in the new year.
  • Employees, part of massive layoffs since Elon Musk took over, want more than a month of severance.
  • Twitter’s lawyers argue that many employees were given the legally required notice before layoffs.

Twitter is asking a California federal court to dismiss a class action lawsuit filed by a group of employees suing “mass layoffs” on the social media platform since Elon Musk took over.

On Friday, Twitter asked the court to either transfer the claims to Delaware — where disputes over Musk’s acquisition of Twitter would take place under the terms of the settlement — or dismiss possible class claims in the lawsuit.

Twitter argued that the employees who filed the suit themselves have different circumstances and that they did not adequately state what broad claims a potential large class of Twitter employees would have.

One of the group’s employees who filed the lawsuit has since been fired, while the others have official termination dates on Twitter in January and February 2023, according to an updated version of the employees’ complaint filed earlier this month.

Twitter’s lawyers have argued that employees have made “vague and imprecise” claims about a collective group of Twitter employees they hope to represent, and have asked the court to reject their effort to file claims that cover such a large base of employees.

“Plaintiffs don’t even attempt to define a class, only referring to ‘thousands of other Twitter employees’ or ‘other Twitter employees in a similar situation,'” Twitter argued in a Dec. 23 court filing.

An employee attorney, Shannon Liss-Riordan, told Insider late Sunday night that she and the employees she represents are “confident in our claims.”

“We will do everything necessary to protect the rights of Twitter employees,” said Liss-Riordan.

“We urge Elon Musk to show some holiday spirit and honor the law and promises made to Twitter employees,” he added. “If not, we are ready to face it in 2023.”

Twitter’s lawyers did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Sunday night.

The lawsuit was filed by a group of Twitter employees who argue that the layoffs came so unexpectedly and offered so little severance that they ran counter to assurances given by the company’s previous leadership before the Musk buyout became official.

Employees claimed they hoped, for example, that they could continue to work remotely for a year after the acquisition, but Musk instructed employees to return to the office. They also claimed that many of them are only receiving one month of compensation, instead of two months or more, as they said Twitter used to do before the Musk acquisition.

Twitter’s lawyers told the court that the employees who filed the lawsuit have multiple issues and should be treated differently. Only one of them, for example, has ever been expelled – Emmanuel Cornet, who claimed to have been sacked on 1 November without notice.

The other employees, who won’t be officially laid off for the next two months, received the 60-day notice required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, a federal law that requires large companies to properly alert employees to layoffs in mass, Twitter has told the court.

Twitter also argued that some of the employees in that group are bound by arbitration, and that is where their claims should go.

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