A federal judge in San Francisco has handed Twitter CEO Elon Musk a victory in a legal battle with former employees of the platform. U.S. District Judge James Donato ordered the ex-staffers to drop their class-action lawsuit against Musk and pursue any claims against him through arbitration.
According to reports, the former employees accused Musk and Twitter of failing to give them adequate notice before they were laid off after the billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO purchased the platform.
After the ruling, attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, who represented the plaintiffs, said, “Insisting that workers file claims one by one has backfired for many companies our firm has taken on.”
“These companies think they can make employees just go away and not assert their rights by using arbitration clauses, but we have made them sorry about what they wished for,” she added.
“We anticipated this and that’s why we have already filed 500 individual arbitration demands – and counting. This is not a win for @elonmusk. Twitter still has to answer claims in court, on top of the arbitration battles,” she tweeted.
Before the ruling, she said, according to Business Insider, “Now that the severance agreements have been sent to employees, Elon Musk has proven us correct: Twitter is in fact trying to shortchange employees and break promises. Musk’s decision to fleece Twitter workers isn’t just shameful – it’s also going to be very costly. These claims will be extraordinarily expensive and time-consuming for Twitter to defend.”
In November, Musk took heat for laying off roughly half of Twitter’s 7,500 worldwide employees on Friday, but he’s since defended his action.
“Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day. Everyone [who] exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required,” he explained on the platform.
He noted further that “Twitter’s strong commitment to content moderation remains absolutely unchanged,” while noting that “hateful speech” on the platform had “declined below prior norms” since he acquired the platform, contrary to many expectations.
The Daily Caller adds:
Despite the mass layoffs, the platform’s 2000 content moderators were mostly “not impacted,” according to Twitter’s Head of Safety and Integrity Yoel Roth. He added that the daily volume of “moderation actions” is the same under Musk as it was under the previous leadership.
As the midterms approach, Roth also stated that combatting “harmful misinformation that can suppress the vote” remains Twitter’s “top priority.”
Before making his statement, Musk said that Twitter experienced a “massive drop in revenue” after left-wing “activist groups” pressured advertisers to leave the platform, accusing them of “trying to destroy free speech in America.”
“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists. Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America,” he tweeted.
On Saturday, founder and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apologized to the staff who were terminated, claiming he grew the company too fast.
“Folks at Twitter past and present are strong and resilient,” Dorsey said. “They will always find a way no matter how difficult the moment. I realize many are angry with me. I own the responsibility for why everyone is in this situation: I grew the company size too quickly. I apologize for that.”
“I am grateful for, and love, everyone who has ever worked on Twitter,” he continued. “I don’t expect that to be mutual in this moment…or ever…and I understand.”
The remarks by the current and former CEO of the platform came as Musk launched an effort to turn around Twitter’s performance after it had failed to turn a profit for years.
The moves drew unhinged attacks against Musk and his team, including from President Joe Biden, who accused Musk of “buying an outfit that sends and spews lies all across the world” during a fundraiser in Illinois Friday evening. “There’s no editors anymore in America.”
“How do we expect kids to be able to understand what is at stake? What is at stake? So there’s a lot going on, a lot going on. But we have an enormous opportunity, enormous opportunity,” Biden added.