New York State In-depth

Twitter’s laid-off workers can’t make claims through a class action lawsuit

Twitter Inc has obtained a ruling that allows the social media company to force several laid-off workers who are suing over their termination to pursue their claims through individual arbitration rather than a class action lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge James Donato ruled on Friday that five former Twitter employees pursuing a proposed class action lawsuit alleging the company failed to properly terminate them following Elon Musk’s acquisition are pursuing their claims in private arbitration must.

Donato agreed to Twitter’s request to force the five former employees to file their claims individually, citing agreements they signed with the company.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

However, the San Francisco judge allowed a day to elapse “as developments in the case warrant” on whether the entire class action lawsuit should be dismissed, noting that three other former Twitter employees have joined in claiming they may have been dismissed would have opted out of the company’s arbitration agreement after the lawsuit was first filed.

Attorney representing the plaintiffs, Shannon Liss-Riordan, said Monday she has already filed 300 arbitration claims for former Twitter employees and is likely to file hundreds more.

These workers all claim they didn’t get the full severance package that Twitter promised prior to Musk’s takeover. Some have also claimed discrimination based on gender or disability.

Last year, Donato ruled that Twitter must notify the thousands of workers laid off following Musk’s acquisition after a proposed class-action lawsuit accusing the company of failing to adequately terminate them before terminating would.

The judge said Twitter must give them “a concise and clearly worded notice” before asking workers to sign severance agreements waiving their ability to sue the company.

Twitter laid off around 3,700 employees in early November as part of a cost-cutting move by Musk, with hundreds more subsequently resigning.

In December last year, Twitter was also accused by dozens of former employees of various wrongdoings stemming from Musk’s acquisition of the company, including deliberately firing women and failing to pay promised severance pay.

Twitter is also facing at least three complaints filed with a US labor agency alleging that workers were fired for criticizing the company, attempting to organize a strike, and other conduct protected by federal labor laws.

(Reporting by Mrinmay Dey in Bengaluru, Nate Raymond in Boston and Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York, editing by Angus MacSwan and Deepa Babington)

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