Workers are increasingly taking legal action, and lawyers are seeing an increase in cases every day
Legal action against Twitter “goes up daily,” according to a lawyer representing some of the fired employees. According to the BBC, Lisa Bloom has taken on the cases of over a hundred former employees and that number is still growing. Amir Shevat, one of her clients, complained to the BBC about Twitter CEO Elon Musk, calling him a “failure.”
Mr. Shevat discussed the chaotic period at Twitter following Mr. Musk’s $44bn (£39.3bn) takeover in an interview with the BBC World Service programme Tech Tent. About 150 people reported to Mr. Shevat in his role as head of product for the Twitter developer platform. He claimed that in one night, nearly the entire staff was let go.
A reorganisation email was received, and “what happened was,” he said, “I was communicating with my team, and one after another of them was telling me that their computer got ‘bricked.'” Having your computer “bricked” means that you will no longer be able to access it in any way, shape, or form.
He continued, “It was a very, very hard experience that discouraged many of the engineers who had a personal investment in the company’s success.”
When Mr. Musk took over, he fired roughly half of Twitter’s 8,000 employees. Despite Mr. Musk’s earlier warning that the company was losing money at an alarming rate and was in “the fast lane to bankruptcy,” he has since stated that the company is now moving in a “good direction” after the layoffs.
When Mr. Shevat’s company, Reshuffle, was acquired by Twitter in 2021, he formally joined the company. He has now initiated arbitration proceedings against his former employer, who is being represented by Ms. Bloom, an attorney. She estimated to the BBC that her client base of terminated Twitter employees in the United States was around 100, but that “the number goes up daily.” Ms. Bloom elaborated that there were multiple types of claims, including those based on alleged contract violations and discrimination.
A socially uncomfortable situation
Workers at Twitter’s sole African office in Ghana have also retained legal counsel after being terminated, joining their counterparts in the United Kingdom. Mr. Shevat logged on to a “all hands” meeting held by Mr. Musk in November as the takeover closed, which he described as a “awkward” experience.
“We were attempting to elicit from him an explanation of his plans for the company and its intended course of action. His responses were neither entirely correct nor particularly encouraging “His words. “For instance, we questioned him on the future of Twitter by asking, “what do you see for the platform?” He responded that he has faith that we can get him to Mars. Making a social app and going to Mars? That’s a connection I can’t make.”
What’s the deal with all the layoffs at major tech firms?
Twitter is just one of many major tech companies to have implemented widespread layoffs in recent months; others include Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft. Mr. Shevat stated that he did not “object to the downsizing,” but rather the manner in which it was implemented at Twitter. “It needs to be done in a way that complies with the law, shows compassion, and involves extensive communication. And in every one of them, Elon’s leadership fell short “His words.
According to Mr. Shevat’s BBC interview, Twitter employees were promised four months’ pay as severance but were ultimately offered only one month’s pay, with “zero justification” for the decrease in package. To him, Mr. Musk’s treatment of employees is “unjustifiable,” and he expressed “worry” about Twitter’s future. “We aimed to improve people’s well-being and efficiency in daily life. Elon’s purchase of the company threw that into disarray “That’s what he had to say, he clarified.