Twitter is facing a class-action lawsuit from former employees who say they were not given enough notice under US federal law that they lost their jobs after discovering they were let go when they were locked out of their work accounts on Thursday.
In a company-wide memo, staff were told on Thursday that they would receive an email to their personal email accounts if they were made redundant as part of mass redundancies on the platform that could see up to half the company go.
Before those emails arrived, dozens of employees began tweeting that they had been fired – after discovering they could no longer access their work email accounts or log into their work laptops.
Musk’s plans to cut up to 3,700 employees may hit a snag, however, after a lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court in San Francisco seeking orders for Twitter to comply with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires 60 days’ notice of mass layoffs at large employers.
The suit, filed on behalf of five Twitter employees so far, says one was fired on Nov. 1, while three were not notified at the time of the filing but had been blocked from their email accounts.
The case cited a similar situation with layoffs at Musk’s other company, Tesla, where the company tried to fully release itself from its obligations under the notice law by offering a week or two of layoff.
“Plaintiffs here are reasonably concerned that, absent judicial intervention, Twitter will engage in similar conduct and seek release from terminated employees without informing them of their rights or the pendency of this case,” the filing states.
The lawsuit was first reported by Bloomberg.
After finalizing the $44 billion purchase of Twitter, Musk fired several top Twitter executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal, and head of legal affairs and policy Vijaya Gadde.
The job cuts are part of an overhaul of the social media platform as Musk tries to make it profitable after buying it. Musk also instructed Twitter teams to unlock $1 billion in annual infrastructure cost savings by cutting funding for cloud services and servers.
Musk is looking at other ways to make a profit on Twitter, including plans to change the “blue tick” verification system from one that proves someone is who they say they are to one where people can only get a tick if pay $8 a month.
Twitter employees shared messages of support each other on the platform on Thursday, with many using the workplace hashtag #OneTeam. Once staff started noticing they had been blocked from their work accounts, they tweeted with the hashtag #LoveWhereYouWorked.
Musk, meanwhile, tweeted: “I’m an alien trying to get back to my planet” in response to “what’s the craziest conspiracy theory you think could be true?”