Former employees sue Twitter over layoffs, alleging violation of labor laws

A Twitter logo hangs outside the company's office.
A Twitter logo hangs outside the company’s San Francisco offices on Tuesday.
(Noah Berger / Associated Press)

Former Twitter employees have sued the social media giant, alleging that the company violated and planned to violate federal and state laws that govern mass layoffs.

The lawsuit comes as a large fraction of Twitter’s employee base has been receiving layoff notices in the wake of Elon Musk’s $44-billion acquisition of the company. Twitter had said Thursday that all employees would be notified of their employment status by 9 a.m. Friday. Musk reportedly was planning to lay off about 50% of the company’s 7,500-person workforce.

Already, Musk has fired Twitter’s executive leadership team, including now-former Chief Executive Parag Agrawal.


Elon Musk reportedly plans to lay off as much as 50% of Twitter’s workforce, with cuts announced Friday in an effort to lessen the debt Twitter took on.

Nov. 4, 2022

The lawsuit, which is seeking class action status, was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California.

Plaintiff Emmanuel Cornet was laid off from Twitter on Tuesday “effective immediately” without receiving a 60-day advance notice, which is required by the federal and state Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act in the event of a mass layoff, according to the lawsuit. He also did not receive severance pay, the lawsuit said.

Two days later, plaintiffs Justine De Caires, Jessica Pan and Grae Kindel were locked out of their company accounts, “which they understood to signal that they were being laid off,” according to the lawsuit. They, too, did not receive advance notice and were not formally notified of a layoff, the lawsuit said.

The California Employment Development Department forwarded to The Times three WARN notices it received from Twitter, dated Nov. 4. In the notices, the company said it was terminating 784 employees at its San Francisco work site, 106 based in San Jose and 93 in Los Angeles.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.

The plaintiffs are seeking to prevent Twitter from violating the federal and state WARN acts and from seeking releases of claims under those laws from laid-off employees “without informing employees of the pendency of this lawsuit and their rights under those statutes.” The plaintiffs are also looking to be awarded damages, including all expenses and wages owed.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Shannon Liss-Riordan, did not respond to a request for comment by The Times. On Friday, she told Bloomberg that Musk “is making an effort to comply” with the law and that she was “pleased” to learn that at least some employees will keep getting paid until Jan. 4.