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Tipsheet

Amid Mass Layoff Announcement, Twitter Temporarily Locks Employees Out of Buildings, System Access

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Twitter Chief Elon Musk will begin staff layoffs Friday morning even as several employees have filed a class action lawsuit claiming the move violates a labor law that requires giving workers 60 days’ notice.

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After finalizing the $44 billion buyout last week, an email was sent to the company’s 7,500 employees on Thursday warning that about half of the positions will be cut. 

“Team, in an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday," the email said. "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."

Employees were also warned that all offices would be temporarily closed and badge access suspended “to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data.”

According to Bloomberg, large companies must give employees advance notice under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

The lawsuit asks the court to issue an order requiring Twitter to obey the WARN Act, and restricting the company from soliciting employees to sign documents that could give up their right to participate in litigation.

“We filed this lawsuit tonight in an attempt the make sure that employees are aware that they should not sign away their rights and that they have an avenue for pursuing their rights,” Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney who filed Thursday’s complaint, said in an interview.

Liss-Riordan sued Tesla Inc. over similar claims in June when the electric-car maker headed by Musk laid off about 10% of its workforce. 

Tesla won a ruling from a federal judge in Austin forcing the workers in that case to pursue their claims in closed-door arbitration instead of in open court. (Bloomberg)

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“We will now see if he is going to continue to thumb his nose at the laws of this country that protect employees,” said Liss-Riordan, referring to Musk. “It appears that he’s repeating the same playbook of what he did at Tesla.”

According to NBC, some employees are "desperate" to get laid off in order to receive severance benefits. "At the end of this nightmare, I better get a cash prize," one Twitter employee told the outlet.

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