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Twitter Moves for Arbitration in WARN Act Employment Class Action

Twitter website on computer screen.

"Muenster, Germany - May 23, 2011: The twitter website is displayed in web browser on a computer screen. Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service and enabling its users to send and read messages."

On Monday, Twitter, Inc. filed a motion to compel arbitration to the Northern District of California in an employment lawsuit filed by former Twitter employees.

As reported by Law Street Media, the litigation was initiated on November 3 when former Twitter employees filed a class action complaint claiming Twitter violated the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the WARN Act) and the California WARN Act. Under the acts, the complaint says, large employers such as Twitter are required to give workers “formal written advance notice” of anticipated and qualifying layoffs 60 days prior. 

Through their complaint, the plaintiffs allege that Twitter is a qualifying company under the WARN Acts and failed to provide the required notice to terminated employees. Further, the five named plaintiffs from California, Hawaii and Massachusetts state they were locked out of their Twitter on November 3, signifying their termination without prior notice. 

The plaintiffs seek declaratory relief requiring Twitter to comply with the law and provide notice or severance payment in connection with the anticipated layoffs. Additionally, the complaint asks the court to issue an injunction prohibiting Twitter from asking its employees to waive federal and California WARN Act claims without apprising them of the putative class action.

Twitter responded with the motion to compel arbitration, asking the court to dismiss the suit and require the plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims on an individual basis. The motion states that each of Twitter’s employees, including the plaintiffs, agreed to a dispute resolution agreement as part of their employment that includes an arbitration agreement and class action waiver. 

The plaintiffs’ complaint mentions a similar WARN Act class action filed against Tesla Inc. this past summer. That case was also met with an arbitration challenge and the claims were ultimately sent to individual arbitration on November 2. As the plaintiffs’ complaint presently stands, there is no mention of Twitter employees’ contracts or the arbitration agreement. 

The plaintiffs and putative class are represented by Lichten & Liss-Riordan P.C. while Twitter is represented by Morgan Lewis.

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