Former Twitter UK staff member fired by Elon Musk accused the billionaire of a “fake firing process” and threatened to take legal action against the company.
Lawyers representing 43 former Twitter employees wrote a letter to the company on Tuesday to protest the way the layoffs were handled.
Law firm Winckworth Sherwood said in a letter seen by The Telegraph that the mass layoffs in November were “illegal, unfair and completely unacceptable treatment”.
The firm said it would take Twitter to a labor court if its customers’ complaints were not addressed.
Mr. Musk has made extensive layoffs at the social media company he bought for $44 billion last year, and in some cases has removed staff from IT systems without notice.
In the UK, companies with more than 100 layoffs are required to initiate a 45-day consultation on jobs at risk. Last year, around 180 UK Twitter employees were laid off by Mr Musk.
Lawyers accuse Twitter of retroactively firing staff, shutting down computer sessions and locking down their entrance to offices without proper process before initiating a formal dismissal consultation.
The letter said Twitter fired staff without notice in “unfair”, “disrespectful” and “brutal” efforts, making it “virtually impossible” for employees to coordinate during layoffs.
Lawyers added that some staff members were contacted to set up a consultation appointment with the company’s HR teams after office hours ended on December 23. The letter alleges that in some cases the company has attempted to require staff to agree to a settlement agreement before attending any meeting. The legal letter said the layoffs were “managed by order from the US … regardless of British law”.
Twitter is facing hundreds of legal complaints about how the layoffs were handled as several class-action complaints in the US. Mr Musk fired more than half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees in November last year.
Many staff members in the US complained that after being laid off by the company, they received no information about their layoff packages.
Others say they have received terms, including terms that require them to accept non-humiliation clauses.
Lisa Bloom, a US attorney acting on behalf of some Twitter staff in America, said: “The Twitter workers, many of whom I represent, were finally given ‘severance contracts’ on Saturday.
“These are really compromise agreements that silence workers for life and require them to give up important legal rights.”
In November, Mr. Musk claimed that “everyone who comes out has been offered an offer”. [three] monthly severance pay that is 50 percent more than legally required”.
Over the weekend, some staff began receiving offers on Twitter after months of waiting.
Many were offered only one month’s salary, which requires them not to criticize the company or take any legal action against the company, as well as agree to forfeit any future bonuses or stock payments.
In the UK, staff were offered two months’ basic salary plus two weeks’ salary for each year they worked for the company, the Financial Times reported.