Ex-Twitter employees pull Musk back to money table over missing severance

Will Elon actually pay this bill?

Lawyers for thousands of ex-Twitter employees who sued for unpaid severance have somehow managed to bring Elon Musk and company back to the negotiating table.

A memo from the legal team fighting Musk's X on behalf of former tweeps sent to tell them of the good news was leaked to the press yesterday, telling the plaintiffs: "Twitter wants to mediate with us in a global attempt to settle all claims we have filed."

As Reg readers may recall, Musk's takeover of Twitter triggered several near-immediate waves of mass layoffs that have ended with the majority of the company being terminated. An estimated 1,500 people are left at X out of nearly 8,000 working in the pre-Musk Twitter days.

Thousands of terminated tweeps began suing their former employer en masse as the layoffs began, with lawsuits ranging from violations of California's WARN act that requires proper notice be given of a planned mass layoff, to layoff discrimination, to claims that it was on the hook for $500 million in contractually obligated severance payments that had gone unpaid

Naturally, those lawsuits were followed by additional allegations that Twitter was ignoring arbitration claims filed by employees trying to get their severances and settle other complaints. By late last month Twitter, now known as X, admitted to having more than 2,000 arbitration claims filed against it, which would amount to more than $3.5 million in filing fees alone.

Despite those mounting costs, "after 10 months of pressing them in every direction we have succeeded in getting Twitter to the table," attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan wrote in the memo to her thousands of plaintiffs, which was viewed by Bloomberg.

Liss-Riordan's Boston-based law firm has brought nearly 2,000 arbitration cases against X, and has followed up on those arbitration requests with a dozen class action cases trying to compel Musk's social media platform to return to negotiations.

"We believe all employees who were employed at Twitter before Elon Musk bought the company and have lost their jobs are entitled to additional severance pay, and many have additional legal claims as well," Liss-Riordan's firm said on its website. We didn't immediately hear back from Liss-Riordan about the case. 

With X having capitulated, arbitration is scheduled to begin in December. As for where Musk and X are going to get the cash to pay filing fees, or settlements for that matter, is unclear given the alleged continual losses X has incurred since Musk took over. We asked X about its decision to return to negotiation, but didn't hear back. 

For those curious about the ongoing saga of the X automated email response, it's been updated again. First it was the poop emoji, then it was "We'll get back to you soon." Now it's eliminated the temporal qualifier, or any indicator a response is forthcoming at all: "Busy now, please check back later," X now tells us. Ah well, the remaining folks at Twitter probably really are too busy to open up that an email inbox. ®

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