Elon Musk has been the new CEO of Twitter for a few days. Among the first actions taken by Musk is the mass dismissal of what are now former Twitter employees.
The latter did not remain impassive to the entrepreneur’s decision, initiating a class action lawsuit against Twitter’s new CEO.
According to several sources, Musk initiated massive layoffs at Twitter on 4 November, reducing the company’s workforce by 7,500 people.
Indeed, there was speculation that Twitter’s new CEO would cut up to 50% of the company’s workforce, about 3,500 people, just days after Twitter’s $44 billion acquisition on 27 October.
In response to the layoffs, Twitter employees filed a class action lawsuit against Musk in federal court in San Francisco. The lawsuit alleges that Twitter is violating federal and California law by firing employees without notice.
What the law says about mass layoffs
The action taken by former Twitter employees following the layoffs imposed by Musk refers to a specific law. Specifically, it refers to the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act.
Which prevents large companies from escalating mass layoffs without at least sixty days’ notice.
Speaking out was civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, who said Musk completely ignored the law, which applies to all California employers with more than 75 employees:
“This WARN law applies to all California employers with more than 75 employees, which of course includes Twitter with its thousands of employees. The purpose of the law is to give laid-off employees time to understand how to handle this outage. And Elon completely ignores it.”
Shannon Liss-Riordan, the lawyer who filed the class action on 3 November, said that all Twitter employees should be aware of their rights.
She then added that employees should not give up their rights and that they have an avenue to pursue them.
Prior to Twitter for Musk was the Tesla lawsuit. Here’s what had happened
By June 2022, Musk had cut about 10% of his workforce at the electric car company Tesla, which he also owns. The same Liss-Riordan had sued Musk on this occasion as well.
It had all started with the two workers who claimed they had been laid off in June from Tesla’s gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada. According to the lawsuit, more than 500 employees were laid off from the Nevada plant.
Indeed, the lawsuit filed over the Tesla layoffs had the same foundation as the current Twitter lawsuit, that the company had failed to comply with federal mass layoff laws, which require a 60-day notification period under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.
Musk, speaking on the issue at the Qatar Economic Forum organized by Bloomberg, called the lawsuit “trivial.” These are his words:
“The cause has no foundation. It seems like everything about Tesla gets a lot of clicks, whether it’s trivial or meaningful. I would put the cause you are referring to in the category of trivial things.”
It also seems that Elon Musk, in early June, had already stated that he had a bad feeling about the economy and that Tesla needed to cut staff by about 10%.
The assumptions were confirmed by Musk himself during a speech at the Qatar Economic Forum organized by Bloomberg. Musk had stated that the cuts would apply only to salaried workers, which means a 3.5% reduction in the total workforce.
However, he added, there will also be other hires. In any case, Tesla eventually won the case in closed-door arbitration instead of open court.
According to Liss-Riordan, it appears that Musk is repeating the same playbook as he did at Tesla.
“The bird is free,” the slogan popularized after Musk’s acquisition of Twitter
When Musk bought Twitter a few days ago, in announcing the news he wrote “The bird is free.” However, there was more than just excitement; as with any major deal, controversy over Musk’s claims was not slow in coming.
“In Europe the bird will fly according to our EU rules,” Breton replied to Musk’s tweet.
Among Musk’s fans we find Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure, Matteo Salvini, who comments, “Good news for the network, for democracy and freedom. I love Elon Musk.”
Furthermore, the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Dmitri Medvedev, wished Elon Musk success in the fight against ideological dictatorship on Twitter and suggested that Starlink stop working in Ukraine.
The former Russian president tweeted:
“Good luck in overcoming political bias and ideological dictatorship on Twitter. And get out of this Starlink Ukraine thing.”
Serving as another reminder of the immense help when it comes to information that Musk has been providing with Starlink since the war in Ukraine began.
Even former US President Donald Trump was not slow to congratulate Musk. The sympathy between the two had already been known ever since Trump was banned from Twitter because of tweets about the attack on Capitol Hill on 6 January.
In fact, Musk had considered it a mistake to ban the former president. Now it is Trump who writes in favor of Twitter’s new CEO on his social media website Truth Social:
“I am very happy that Twitter is now in good hands and will no longer be run by madmen and radical left maniacs who truly hate our country. Twitter must now work hard to get rid of all the bots and fake accounts that have damaged it so badly. It will be much smaller, but better. I love the truth!.”