Group of laid-off Twitter employees suing Twitter and Elon Musk: 'Workers are not dirt'

Leo Stallworth Image
Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Group of laid-off Twitter employees suing Twitter and Elon Musk
EMBED <>More Videos

Helen Sage-Lee, Adrian Trejo Nuñez and Amir Shevet - all former Twitter workers - claim Musk is hesitating to provide them the same severance benefits as those who left early.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A group of former Twitter employees announced legal action against Elon Musk on Monday after the company's new CEO laid off half of the company's workforce last month.

Helen Sage-Lee, Adrian Trejo Nuñez and Amir Shevat - all former Twitter workers - claim Musk is balking at providing them the same severance benefits as those who left early.

"I'm here today because Twitter has been trying to maneuver out of owing all of us the full severance that was promised to us prior to the acquisition," said Sage-Lee.

She said unlike many of her co-workers who left the job upon learning that Musk was taking over the company, Sage-Lee stayed as Musk stepped in as CEO hoping things would work out.

"We received information that the severance package we were expecting to receive in the company weeks would be far less than what was initially promised to us prior to the acquisition," said Sage-Lee.

In early November, Musk laid off thousands of employees in departments across the company. Cutbacks were across the board -- sales, marketing, engineering and even the AI group working to make Twitter's algorithms more transparent and fair.

"Before Elon, Twitter promised workers who stayed during the turmoil that they would get the same severance benefits that workers got before Elon. After he came in, he violated that," said Bloom, who said that her firm will continue to file these cases. "Promise made, promise broken. Last Friday, we filed the first arbitration on behalf of Helen Sage-Lee. It's the first one we believe that has been filed for any laid-off Twitter worker and [Monday] we are filing two more on behalf of [Shevat] and [Nunez.]"

In his first company-wide email, Musk explained the massive cutbacks -- saying it's an effort to "put Twitter on a healthy path"

"The way Elon Musk executed the layoffs was really inhumane," said Shevat, who was Twitter's Head of Product - Developer Platform.

Twitter had about 7,500 workers prior to Musk's takeover, meaning roughly 3,700 employees were laid off. The cuts came as Musk attempted to improve the company's bottom line after taking out significant debt financing to fund his $44 billion acquisition.

"I have a message for Elon and all of those who helped him in this: Workers are not dirt," said Bloom. "Twitter tricked most of its workers into giving up their rights in their onboarding documents where they had to sign arbitration agreements so we are hitting twitter and Elon with every applicable claim."

CNN contributed to this report.