Twitter employees have initiated a class lawsuit as new CEO Elon Musk initiates his plan to cut thousands of jobs. The social media giant communicated to its employees through email that there would be layoffs on Friday while temporarily closing its offices and preventing staff access.
This development concludes what has been a week of uncertainty about the company’s future under new owner Elon Musk.
Twitter informed employees via email that it would notify workers of staff reductions by Friday at 9 a.m. Pacific time (12 p.m. EDT/5:00 pm GMT+1).
“We recognize that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success moving forward,” the email said.
After completing his $44 billion acquisition of the ‘bird app’ late last week, Musk was said to be planning to slash the 7,500 employees on the company’s workforce to reduce costs and impose a demanding new work ethic.
According to the email, Twitter said that its offices would be temporarily closed and all badge access suspended “to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data.”
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According to reports from CNBC, a Twitter employee said Thursday’s email was the first communication staff members had received from Twitter since the acquisition on Oct. 27.
“It’s total chaos, house melting down, everyone looking towards this email,” the employee said.
Musk’s planned layoff taking off
Before the takeover transaction was finalized, concerns about layoffs started to surface. However, Twitter’s general counsel cautioned staff members not to focus on speculations.
And although some of the staff were ready and willing to be laid off and get their severance, others were scared of Musk’s antics, which could result in a disagreement.
“At the end of this nightmare, I better get a cash prize,” a Twitter employee said.
Some employees even tweeted their access to the company’s IT system had been blocked and feared whether that suggested they had been laid off. A particular employee tweeted her working journey with the company and expressed satisfaction.
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Meanwhile, Twitter’s employees claimed in a class action lawsuit that the firm engaging in mass layoffs violates federal and California law by failing to give the requisite 60 days’ notice. The lawsuit also requested a court order barring Twitter from asking fired employees to sign paperwork without first alerting them that the case was still pending.
On Thursday, Cornet v. Twitter Inc., 22-cv-06857, was filed at the United States District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
“We filed this lawsuit tonight in an attempt to make sure that employees are aware that they should not sign away their rights and that they have an avenue for pursuing their rights,” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney who filed the suit, to Bloomberg.
According to two persons familiar with the situation and an internal Slack message examined by Reuters, Musk has instructed Twitter’s teams to find up to $1 billion in yearly infrastructure cost savings.
He started by immediately firing the company’s senior executives. Amongst his early casualties of lay-off were Twitter’s CEO, Parag, and top finance and legal executives. Others include those sitting atop the company’s advertising, marketing and human resources divisions.
According to Reuters, Musk’s first week as Twitter’s owner has been marked by chaos and uncertainty. Two company-wide meetings were scheduled, only to be cancelled hours later. Employees claimed they were forced to gather facts using media stories, exclusive messaging services, and public message boards.
The long-anticipated layoffs have cooled Twitter’s renowned open workplace culture, which many of its employees have praised.
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