Twitter, After Tesla, Sued by Ex-Employees for Mass Layoffs Without Notice

Former Twitter Inc. workers laid off last week have sued the company for failing to timely notify its employees of the impending layoffs. The November 3 lawsuit comes as Elon Musk takes the reins as both owner and CEO of the social media platform and shortly after the company announced a nearly 50% reduction in its workforce with plans to lay off about 3,700 workers.

The Northern District of California complaint brings claims under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the WARN Act), as well as the California WARN Act. Both laws require companies large enough to fall within their reach to give workers “formal written advance notice” of anticipated and qualifying layoffs 60 days prior. 

According to the suit, Twitter is subject to both laws and has failed to comply with their strictures.

The five named plaintiffs are from California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts and were locked out of their Twitter accounts on November 3, reportedly signifying their termination. In addition, and in the case of at least one plaintiff, there was no severance pay. The complaint presses that the ex-workers are “very concerned” that Twitter will continue these layoffs without providing the requisite notice.

The plaintiffs seek a court order requiring Twitter to immediately comply with the law and provide notice or severance payment in connection with the anticipated layoffs. They also request that Twitter be prohibited from asking its employees to waive federal and California WARN Act claims without apprising them of the putative class action.

The suit makes mention of another WARN Act class action filed against Tesla Inc. over layoffs this summer at the electric and autonomous vehicle maker’s factories. That case was met with an arbitration challenge, however, and the claims were ultimately sent to individual arbitration on November 2.

The present suit makes no mention of Twitter employees’ contracts and whether they contain agreements to arbitrate such labor claims. The plaintiffs and putative class are represented by Lichten & Liss-Riordan P.C.