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Class Suit Alleges Twitter Layoffs Violated Federal WARN Act

November 09, 2022

Twitter employees, both former and those expecting to be laid off at the time their lawsuit was filed on November 3, claim in a class action complaint against Twitter in a California federal court that the company has violated, and is expected to further violate, the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

No advanced warning or severance.Soon after Elon Musk made his high-profile purchase of Twitter during the first week of November, it was widely reported that the social media platform plans to lay off about 3,700 employees—50 percent of its workforce, according to the complaint. Twitter purportedly began its layoffs with a few employees, including one of the plaintiffs, without providing advanced written warning, as required by both the federal and state WARN Acts, which require 60 days’ advance written notice of a mass layoff, or as much notice as practicable under the circumstances. Nor did Twitter provide severance to the plaintiff.

On November 3, three other plaintiffs were allegedly locked out of their Twitter accounts, which they took to mean that they were being laid off. Twitter purportedly has not provided these plaintiffs with advanced written warning, as required by the WARN Acts. Further, it has been reported that California’s Employment Development Department has not received notice of a mass layoff from Twitter, according to the complaint.

The plaintiff said that they are very concerned that Twitter will continue the layoffs without providing the required notice and pointed to news reports stating that more widespread layoffs would begin on November 4, 2022.

Look what happened at Tesla!In addition, the plaintiffs cited recent alleged mass layoffs conducted without notice at Tesla, another company owned by Musk. “When informing employees of their layoff, Tesla sought to obtain full releases of all WARN Act and California WARN Act claims in exchange for small severance payments of one or two weeks pay (significantly less than the [60 days’] pay and benefits required to satisfy the WARN Act and the California WARN Act),” the Twitter complaint states. In the Tesla case, a federal court ruled that the company’s conduct was ‘misleading because [the separation agreements] fail to inform potential class members of this lawsuit and the rights that they are potentially giving up under the WARN Act,’” the Twitter plaintiffs contend.

Without court intervention, the Twitter plaintiffs are concerned that Twitter will engage in similar behavior, seeking releases from laid off employees without informing them of their rights or the pendency of this case.

Requested relief.The three-count complaint seeks class certification, and to ensure that Twitter complies with the federal and state WARN laws by providing the required notice or severance payments in connection with the anticipated layoffs, and that the company not solicit releases of claims without informing employees of the pendency of this action and their right to pursue their claims under the WARN Act laws. The plaintiffs are also asking the court for immediate injunctive relief, as well as a declaratory judgment under the Declaratory Judgment Act, on behalf of themselves and all similarly situated employees, precluding Twitter from circumventing the requirements of the federal and state WARN Acts.