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Lawsuits & Litigation

Judge Orders Twitter to Inform Employees of Pending Litigation

— December 15, 2022

Some experts have interpreted the court’s order as evidence that the judge may be sympathetic to the former employees’ claims.

The federal judge overseeing a class action lawsuit against Twitter has ordered the social media company to inform any laid-off employees of the pending litigation.

According to CNN, the court order is intended to inform workers of their rights in the event that they are asked or required to sign a severance agreement including a release of legal claims.

As has reported before, laid-off Twitter employees have already initiated a class action against Twitter.

Shortly after Elon Musk finalized his acquisition of the company, the billionaire announced a series of reforms, including an abrupt end to remote work and mass lay-offs that saw thousands of employees informed that they would lose their jobs.

In the lawsuit, many former Twitter employees claim that the social media platform violated state and federal laws requiring that large companies provide advance notice of planned, large-scale layoffs.

While granting a motion on Tuesday, California-based District Court Judge James Donato said that Twitter’s future communications with employees “should not be rendered misleading by omitting material information about a pending lawsuit.”

Elon Musk, grinning and at ease, wearing a dark suit and a plaid shirt with an unbuttoned collar.
Elon Musk in 2008. Photo by JD Lasica, via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

The order, notes CNN, could be an early indication that the court is at least somewhat sympathetic to the former employees’ arguments.

Musk, adds CNN, laid off about half of Twitter’s global workforce in November, then asked the remaining employees to agree to an ultimatum that they work “hardcore” or leave the company.

Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney who filed the class action lawsuit against Twitter, said that Judge Donato’s order is a “basic but important step that will provide employees with the opportunity to more fully understand their rights instead of just signing them away, and potentially signing away money they are owed, under pressure from Musk.”

CNN reports that the class action is one of several claims filed by Liss-Riordan against Twitter.

Liss-Riordan is also representing Twitter employees in separate lawsuits alleging discrimination on the bases of gender and disability.

In each case, the employees are seeking unspecified monetary damages.

The class action has asked the court to issue a finding that Twitter has violated the California and federal WARN acts, which require advance notice for mass layoffs.

Some employees say they were provided with practically no notice that they had lost their jobs, and only realized that they had been terminated after finding themselves unable to use their badges or log into work accounts.

“Just got remotely logged out of my work laptop and removed from Slack,” one Twitter employee wrote after losing their job in November. “So sad it had to end this way.”


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