Dozens of Former Twitter Employees File Complaint Alleging the Mass Layoffs 'Targeted Women'

Former female Tweeps are making claims about everything from sexual discrimination to being denied the promise of severance.

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Twitter faced with hundreds of legal arbitration
Image: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

Twitter received complaints on Tuesday from 100 former employees who accused the company of gender discrimination and illegal termination. The lawsuit was first filed earlier this month and addresses CEO Elon Musk’s decision to lay off over half the company. The lawsuit claims women were primarily targeted for layoffs and accuses the company of failing to pay the promised severance.

Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan filed 100 demands for arbitration on behalf of the workers against Twitter and has so far filed four class-action lawsuits against the company.

She has said she intends to file additional legal claims, and said in a Twitter post, “Proud to represent these employees. This is just the first wave of arbitration demands - more are coming. The conduct of @Twitter since @elonmusk took over is egregious, and we’ll pursue every avenue to protect workers and extract from Twitter the compensation they are owed.”

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In a separate tweet, Liss-Riordan wrote that if Musk decides to fight the arbitration, they are ready to respond with the backing of thousands of former Twitter employees.

The letters of arbitration cover sex discrimination, breach of contract, and illegally terminating employees who were on medical or parental leave, and in some cases, without providing 60 days’ notice as required by law in California. The class action complaint says in part, “The mass termination of employees at Twitter has impacted female employees to a much greater extent than male employees – and to a highly statistically significant degree.”

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Twitter and Liss-Riordan did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

The lawsuits come after Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion in October and subsequently laid off an estimated 3,700 employees last month in strict cost-cutting measures. Twitter reportedly offered employees a severance package which included a month of base pay if they do not join the class-action lawsuit, but a California judge ruled the ex-employees must be told about the lawsuit before giving up their rights.

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U.S. District Judge James Donato said last week that Twitter’s communication with former workers about their severance packages “should not be rendered misleading by omitting material information about a pending lawsuit,” and added, the proper notice will “promote the fair and efficient administration” of the litigation.

Liss-Riordan responded to Donato’s ruling on Twitter, writing, “[Donato’s] decision is a victory for Twitter employees who for weeks have been abused by Elon Musk.”

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She continued, “The court’s ruling that Twitter must notify employees of our legal action is a basic but important step that will provide employees with the opportunity to more fully understand their rights instead of just signing them away, and potentially signing away money they are owed, under pressure from Musk.”