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Twitter wants a federal court to throw out employees’ collective allegations over layoffs

Elon Musk's Twitter account displayed on a mobile with Elon Musk in the background are seen in this illustration. In Brussels - Belgium on 19 November 2022. (Photo illustration by Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images)Twitter logo displayed on a cellphone with Elon Musk and the Twitter bird in the background.

Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images

  • Twitter is fighting a lawsuit by a group of employees whose layoffs take effect in the new year.
  • The employees, part of mass layoffs since Elon Musk took over, want more than a month’s severance.
  • Twitter’s lawyers argue that many employees received the legally required notice before layoffs.

Twitter is asking a California federal court to throw out a proposed class action suit by a group of employees suing over “mass layoffs” at the social media platform since Elon Musk took over.

On Friday, Twitter asked the court to either transfer the allegations to Delaware — where disputes over Twitter’s acquisition by Musk are to take place under the terms of the deal — or to dismiss potential class allegations in the suit. 

Twitter has argued that the employees who brought the lawsuit themselves have different circumstances, and that they haven’t properly stated what broad claims a large potential class of Twitter employees would have.

One of the employees in the group which filed the suit was already laid off, while the others’ official end dates at Twitter are in January and February 2023, according to an updated version of the employees’ complaint filed earlier this month. 

Twitter’s lawyers argued that the employees had made “vague, imprecise” claims about a collective group of Twitter employees’ they’re hoping to represent, and asked the court to dismiss their effort to bring claims covering such a large base of employees. 

“Plaintiffs do not even attempt to define a class, making only passing reference to ‘thousands of other Twitter employees,’ or ‘other similarly situated Twitter employees,'” Twitter argued in a court filing on Dec. 23. 

An attorney for the employees, Shannon Liss-Riordan, told Insider Sunday night that she and the employees she represents are “confident in our claims.” 

“We will do everything necessary to protect the rights of Twitter employees,” Liss-Riordan said.

“We call on Elon Musk to show some holiday spirit and honor the law and promises made to Twitter employees,” she added. “If not, we are ready to take him on in 2023.”

Twitter’s attorneys did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Sunday night. 

The lawsuit was filed by a group of Twitter employees who are arguing that the layoffs happened so unexpectedly, and offered so little severance, that it went against assurances they’d been given by the company’s previous leadership before Musk’s purchase became official. 

The employees claimed they’d expected, for instance, that they could keep working remotely for a year after the takeover, but Musk instructed employees to return to the office. They alleged also that many of them are being offered just one month’s severance pay, instead of two months or more, as they said Twitter had typically done before Musk’s takeover. 

Twitter’s lawyers told the court that the employees who brought the lawsuit have varying issues, and should be dealt with differently. Only one of them, for instance, has already been pushed out — Emmanuel Cornet, who alleged he was laid off on Nov. 1 without any notice. 

The other employees, who are only officially being let go over the next two months, have received the requisite 60 days notice under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, a federal law that asks large companies to properly alert staff to mass layoffs, Twitter has told the court. 

Twitter has also argued that some of the employees in this group are bound by arbitration and that that’s where their claims should play out.

Read the original article on Business Insider