Several current and former Twitter employees filed a lawsuit against the social network that’s now owned by Elon Musk over a huge wave of layoffs expected to come down Friday.
The legal action comes as Twitter notified employees on Thursday (Nov. 3) that they would find out via email on Friday whether or not they still had a job. Musk is targeting a headcount reduction of 50%, or about 3,700 of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, according to a previous Bloomberg report.
The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, alleges that Twitter failed to provide advance notice of mass layoffs, as required under federal and state law. The U.S. Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires employers to provide advance notice — typically 60 days — of mass layoffs or plant closings. California’s WARN Act has the same requirements.
The suit was filed in federal district court in San Francisco on Thursday on behalf of five current or former employees. The complaint seeks an order requiring Twitter to comply with the WARN laws and also to block the company from soliciting employees to sign documents that could give up their right to participate in litigation.
“Plaintiffs file this action seeking to ensure that Twitter comply with the law and provide the requisite notice or severance payment in connection with the anticipated layoffs,” according to the lawsuit.
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
The case, Cornet v. Twitter, is docket no. 22-CV-06857, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Twitter said it would notify employees by 9 a.m. PT on Friday about their job status. The company’s offices are closed Friday “to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data,” according to the companywide memo.
After closing his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter on Oct. 27, Musk has made several changes, including announcing that verified status on the service will be available going forward only through Twitter Blue subscription service, which will cost $8 per month (up from $4.99).
Musk has been banking on growing subscription revenue as Twitter is facing declining revenue — not only because of a broad slowdown in ad spending but because multiple marketers have halted their spending with Twitter, wary of the changes Musk might make to the company’s content-moderation policies.
“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists,” Musk tweeted Friday. “Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.”
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