Elon Musk’s Twitter is turning legal heads – The Hollywood Reporter | Media Pyro


Elon Musk’s journey as the leader of Twitter has been from the beginning. But, after seven months of negotiations and litigation, he is in control of the micro platform and is facing a new wave of headaches. A legal threat of a mass layoff, promoters fled the platform and brought it back after it announced that blue flags would cost $20 a month – Musk later dropped it to $8. a public interview with author Stephen King His response was, “Okay, I’ll pay.”

And, of course, there’s his $44 billion investment. Musk – who brought in outside suitors including Oracle founder Larry Ellison, VC fund Sequoia Capital and cryptocurrency exchange Binance; convinced existing investors Jack Dorsey and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to keep their investments in the company; and more than $13 billion in loans to finance its takeover – suggesting the company is bleeding.

His answer? Ax half of the company’s employees. On the evening of November 3, Twitter employees were notified via an internal memo that the layoff was imminent. Sitting under the sword of Damocles, employees wait to receive an email the next day confirming their status: Some say their jobs are safe with their company accounts , others will find out they are being canceled by a notice sent to a personal email address.

In the end, about half of the workers were laid off, according to one tweet from Twitter head of Safety & Integrity Yoel Roth, who said his department was cut by only 15 percent. Other teams were nearly or completely exhausted, including Communication, Security, Human Rights, Ethics and one known as META (Machine Learning Ethics, Transparency and Accountability). In total, about 3,700 people were affected worldwide. “For the reduction of Twitter’s capacity, but there is no choice and the company will lose $4M per day,” Musk tweeted November 4.

Colleague Faegre Drinker and colleague Gerald Hathaway say if Musk’s death claim is true, something needs to be done, but he hopes other cost-saving measures will be explored. “All divisions are chaotic and all involve moving targets,” Hathaway says. “A bad cancellation can cost the company more than it saves. I don’t think the implementation of this division is bad, despite the public attention to it.

When that internal memo leaked, critics on Twitter and elsewhere on the internet immediately claimed that Musk had broken the rules on mass deflation.

Under the Employee Retirement Notification Act (WARN), companies with more than 100 employees must provide notice before layoffs if they affect more than 500 people, sometimes less if at least one-third of the workers in one place. Some governments are very proactive. In California, a company with 75 or more employees must give notice of layoffs to 50 or more employees within a 30-day period – regardless of the percentage of the workforce. In New York, the law covers private sector employers with 50 or more employees and WARN notices if 33 percent of the workforce (25 or more) affects 250 employees from one location. .

Images of emails to employees are starting to circulate. Those who were let go will not be rehired, but will “continue to be employed by Twitter and receive wages and benefits beginning on January 4, 2023.” Another version of the message listed a separation date of Feb. 2. Those schedules correspond to the 60-day and 90-day notice periods required in California and New York. Terminated employees were also informed of other external communications including their severance package and a Severance and Claim Release Agreement that would be forthcoming. A copy of the WARN notice and an FAQ document are attached. (The company didn’t respond to a question about messages via email or comment directly on Twitter, which isn’t surprising given that the newsgroup has since been discontinued. Musk’s DMs aren’t open .)

Hathaway comments, “It’s best to put employees on paid leave during the WARN notice period. WARN compliance, even with 60 days of pay, is cheaper than unfulfilled.”

It is important to note that the severance does not occur until the employment is terminated, so there is a fee or benefit received in that offer. to shall come after and in addition to the wages and benefits received at the time of WARN notice. This is also the time when the employees have to give up their claims to the company to pay for the severance.

Employment lawyer The Hollywood Reporter opposed to Musk’s approach, with one calling him “a bad guy,” but he seems to have met the requirements. According to three WARN notices received from the California Department of Employment Development as of Nov. 4, the layoffs have affected nearly 1,000 state employees. Meanwhile, 418 people from the New York City office were laid off, according to a WARN notice sent to personnel officials there. (Posts below.)

Before the emails were released, on Nov. 3, a group of five former Twitter employees filed a class action complaint alleging violations of the federal WARN Act and the government. Three of the five said on Thursday they “closed their Twitter accounts, they knew they were fired.” There is no information about any of the plaintiffs, other than that he lives in Hawaii and works for Twitter’s headquarters. The last plaintiff, Emmanuel Cornet, said in the complaint that he was informed on November 1 that he was “immediately terminated” and did not receive any severance. In a social media post that Cornet wrote that day titled “Bye Twitter,” he said he thought he was being terminated because of his “disturbing” personality. He discussed a run-in with HR over the cartoons he made for a living on Twitter, and said that on the day he was fired he shared a browser extension he created that automatically downloaded his Gmail information. Cornet also included what he says is a copy of his termination email, which states that “his recent behavior has violated several policies.” The lawsuit describes his termination as “an early example of an expected mass layoff,” rather than firing for cause.

Their attorney, Shannon Liss-Riordan, did not respond to a request for comment — but on Nov. 8 an amended complaint was filed. It’s still a WARN Act claim, which refers to Cornet anonymously as “another employee.” But, now, there are also breach of contract claims related to severance packages and remote work.

The April 25 merger agreement Musk filed with the SEC said that within a year of the deal’s closing, Twitter would provide “severance payments and benefits … “less good” than what was offered before the sale. While it’s unclear whether the SEC will take action if the severance payments don’t meet that threshold, Hathaway says “there is no contractual right created by this information to benefit employees.”

Liss-Riordan argues that the workers were given third-party consent, and that these “communicated to the workers orally (including ‘all hands’ meetings) and in writing by the executives of Twitter, including its former CEO, human resources. employees, and more.”

“For many of the laid-off employees, Twitter gave 60 days’ notice, and informed them that they would receive one month’s back pay … Riordan in the proposed amendment.” However, Twitter’s previous policy provided for severance pay and benefits for laid-off employees. The previous policy provided for at least two months’ pay (or more, depending on the employee’s length of service), compensation through a bonus plan, the cash value of the right to be issued at within three months from the date of departure, and a financial contribution for continued health care.”

In a November 4 tweet announcing the losses, Musk said, “Everyone who came out was given 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than the law requires. he.”

It’s unclear whether Musk is including WARN advertising costs in that three-month severance report, but the complaint says he’s combining the two.

Liss-Riordan is asking the court to stop Twitter from asking employees to sign severance agreements without informing them of their rights under WARN, and to stay of this case, and inform them. He is currently representing other plaintiffs in a similar complaint against Musk’s other company, Tesla. That fight was forced into arbitration in October. (The Hawaii worker apparently survived the layoffs, but the amended complaint alleges that Musk is eliminating the option to work remotely and that people will lose the opportunity to find new jobs in when the market is “better.”)

In addition to the lawsuit from those employees, Musk has angered users at his bedside in the midst of the scandals and plans for the future.

“The way Musk/Twitter knows the people they’re going to fire, and then informs the fired people that they’re slated to leave, is very disrespectful to the employees and has a lot of job loss. to their lives,” he said. employment attorney Ann Fromholz of The Fromholz Firm. “And as discussed on social media, Musk’s team chose to suppress what appears to be a lot of information about his priorities for the company going forward.”

Apart from the blue-check problem – it may or may not fit label “authority”. can’t be bought — he’s hot on the heels of his dismissal of Donald Trump, standing on fictional accounts and signs that he’ll lower moderation in the name of free speech. (Though he promised promoters it wouldn’t be a “free-for-all hell.”)

Official Twitter users are expressing dismay at leaving the platform as if there were other options. While some have already left, others are waiting and seeing, agreeing with what Musk said in a tweet on November 8: “Twitter is the worst! But the best.”


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