Twitter Wins Ruling Against Laid-off Workers Class-action Suit

A Bay Area judge ruled in favor of Twitter, passing down a ruling allowing the social media company to force several laid-off workers suing over their termination to pursue claims via individual arbitration rather than a class-action lawsuit.

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U.S. District Judge James Donato on Friday ruled that five former Twitter employees seeking a proposed class action must pursue their claims in private arbitration to address allegations the company failed to give adequate notice before laying them off after its acquisition by Elon Musk.

The San Francisco-based judge granted Twitter’s request to force the five ex-employees to pursue their claims individually, citing agreements they previously signed with the company.

Judge Donato left for future determination “as warranted by developments in the case” whether the entire class action lawsuit must be dismissed, though, as he noted three other former Twitter employees who alleged they had opted out of the company’s arbitration agreement have joined the lawsuit after its original filing.

Representation for the plaintiffs, Shannon Liss-Riordan, said on Monday that she had already filed 300 demands for arbitration on behalf of former Twitter employees and would likely file hundreds more.

Each of those workers claims they have not received their full severance package promised by the company before Musk’s takeover. Other accusations include gender and disability discrimination.

Donato ruled last year that Twitter must notify the thousands of workers who were laid off by Musk following a proposed class action accusing the company of failing to give adequate notice before terminating them.

The judge explained that before asking workers to sign severance agreements waiving their ability to sue the company, Twitter is required to give them “a succinct and plainly worded notice”.

Twitter surplussed almost 3,700 employees in early November in a cost-cutting measure by Musk, and hundreds more subsequently resigned in response to Musk’s handling of the takeover.

In December, Twitter was accused by dozens of former employees of various legal violations stemming from Musk’s takeover of the social media giant. The accusations range from targeting women for layoffs to failing to pay promised severance to those laid off.

Twitter is simultaneously fighting three U.S. labor board complaints alleging workers were fired for unjust reasons including: criticizing the company, attempting to organize a strike, and other conduct protected by federal labor law.

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