'Discussing the consequences' | Is Musk planning to deny severance pay for fired Twitter staff?

Is Musk planning to deny severance pay for fired Twitter staff?

In the seven weeks since Elon Musk completed his somewhat-reluctant takeover of Twitter, he’s created more HR horror stories than many CEOs will experience in an entire career.

First it was the decision to fire approximately half of Twitter’s workforce – roughly 3,700 employees, as he sought to slash costs and impose a demanding new work ethic. This was swiftly followed by the axing of "days of rest," which are highly popular company-wide days off, which were removed from calendars for the rest of the year.

Then came an embarrassing U-turn, when the form reportedly reached out to dozens of employees who were fired, asking them to resume their roles.

Some of those who are being asked to return were laid off by mistake, while others were let go before management realized that their work and experience may be necessary to build the new features Musk envisions, according to Bloomberg sources.

Then, #RIPTwitter became a trending hashtag when the billionaire gave all staff an ultimatum of agreeing to a “hardcore” new work schedule comprising “long hours at high intensity”. Musk branded the new way of working as “Twitter 2.0”.

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Anyone who chose not to sign a document agreeing to this would be fired and receive three months’ severance pay, Musk went on to tell employees.

However, reports emerged that around 75% of Twitter’s workforce (that’s an estimated 2,900, following the earlier firings and many resignations) opted not to sign the ludicrous demand.

According to tech publication The Verge, hundreds of employees posted farewell messages on Twitter’s internal Slack boards.

Last week, reports from The Guardian stated that Musk recently converted several of Twitter HQ’s unused rooms into sleeping quarters. The message to staff here being, work longer, work more, and sleep in the office between tasks.

As of last Monday, the office now has “modest bedrooms featuring unmade mattresses, drab curtains and giant conference-room telepresence monitors, with four to eight beds a floor,” an employee told Forbes.

The development is very much in line with Musk’s recent internal memo, stating that those who wish to remain employed would have to be ‘hardcore’ and ‘work long hours with high intensity’.

Now, the New York Times reports that as part of another bid to save cash, Musk’s legal team considered the ramifications of not paying fired staff severance pay.

According to NYT, “Twitter’s leaders have also discussed the consequences of denying severance payments to thousands of people who have been laid off since the takeover”.

Such a decision could pile more legal pressure on the firm, which is already facing a class-action lawsuit filed in a San Francisco federal court, over Musk’s decision to lay off about half of the workforce.

Twitter employees say the company is eliminating workers without enough notice in violation of federal and California law, the report said.


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