On November 3, 2022, Emmanuel Cornet, Justine De Caires, Grae Kindel, Alexis Camacho, and Jessica Pan (collectively, “Plaintiffs”), individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed a Class Action Complaint against Defendant Twitter, Inc. (“Twitter”), in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
Plaintiffs, all of whom are former employees of Twitter, allege that the company violated and will further violate the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the “WARN Act”), as well as the California WARN Act, both of which offer protection to workers, their families, and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and mass layoffs.
Under the federal WARN Act, layoffs are covered if they occur within a 30-day period and involve any number between 50 and 499 full-time employees constituting at least 33% of the full-time workforce at a single site of employment. Layoffs of 500 employees or more are covered regardless of the percentage of the workforce they constitute. The California WARN Act covers layoffs of 50 or more employees.
On November 1, 2022, Twitter terminated Plaintiff Cornet without providing written warning 60 days in advance, as required by the federal WARN Act and California WARN Act. Subsequently, on November 3, Plaintiffs De Caires, Pan, and Kindel were locked out of their Twitter accounts, which they understood to mean that they were being laid off.
The Complaint states that, “[i]t has been widely reported that Twitter plans to lay off about 3,700 employees, approximately 50% of its total workforce.” Accordingly, “Plaintiffs are very concerned that Twitter will continue these layoffs without providing the requisite notice.”
On October 27, 2022, Twitter was acquired by multi-billionaire Elon Musk, the CEO and single largest shareholder of Tesla. Plaintiffs claim that Musk has a history of engaging in mass layoffs without notice, pointing to Musk’s statement in June 2022 that he planned to layoff 10% of Tesla’s salaried workers over the following three months. Plaintiffs allege that Tesla attempted to obtain releases from laid off employees without informing them of their rights under the federal or California WARN Acts.
According to the Complaint, “[w]hen informing employees of their layoff, Tesla sought to obtain full releases of all WARN Act and California WARN Act claims in exchange for small severance payments of one or two weeks pay.” Plaintiffs predict that, “absent court intervention, Twitter will engage in similar behavior and seek releases from laid off employees without informing them of their rights or the pendency of this case.”
Updates will be posted to this blog as the matter progresses. The case caption for the lawsuit is Cornet et al v. Twitter, Inc. et al., Case No. 3:22-cv-06857-SK, filed in the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division.
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