A group of former and current Twitter employees Thursday filed a class action lawsuit in the San Francisco Division of the US District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuit comes amid widespread layoffs at the company, spearheaded by new CEO Elon Musk.
Musk acquired the company after completing a deal Oct. 27 to purchase the company for approximately $44 billion. Upon becoming CEO, Musk almost immediately began layoffs at Twitter’s locations across the US to cut down on costs to the company. According to the complaint, Musk communicated to Twitter staff members that he plans to eliminate roughly 3,700 employees, or about half of the company’s workforce. Shortly after this notice, layoffs began.
The lawsuit was filed by former employee Emmanuel Cornet and current employees Justine De Caires, Grae Kindel, Alexis Camacho and Jessica Pan. The plaintiffs claim that Twitter violated both the federal Worker Adjustment and Retaining Notification (WARN) Act and California’s WARN Act, which require employers conducting a mass layoff to provide employees with a 60-day advance written notice termination of employment. Cornet was notified of his termination and terminated on November 1, and De Caires, Pan and Kindel were all locked out of their Twitter accounts on Thursday. They understood this as a notification of their termination.
Under the federal WARN Act, an employer of 100 or more full-time employees cannot order either a closing of a location or a mass layoff that results in the loss of at least 33 percent of employees, excluding part-time employees, without written notice to the employees and the government 60 days prior to the former actions. Under California’s WARN Act, an employer cannot conduct a mass layoff within a 30 day period of over 50 or more employees who have worked for the employer in the preceding 12 months without written notice of the layoff. Employers are also required to report any mass layoffs or location closures to California’s Employment Development Department. According to the complaint, Twitter sent no such notice as of Thursday.
“We have filed this federal complaint to ensure that Twitter be held accountable to our laws and to prevent Twitter employees from unknowingly signing away their rights,” Shannon Liss-Riordan, attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement to CNN. The plaintiffs are concerned that Twitter will continue to fail to appropriately notify employees of their termination under the federal and state WARN Act, as layoffs are expected to continue in coming days.