Twitter owes ex-employees $500m in severance, lawsuit claims

Twitter faces legal action over allegedly owing around $500m in severance pay promised to thousands of workers sacked by Elon Musk.

The class action lawsuit was filed in a San Francisco federal court by former human resources boss, Courtney McMillian who led Twitter’s employee benefits programmes before being made redundant in January.

McMillian claims that under a severance plan created by Twitter in 2019, most workers were promised two months of their base pay plus one week of pay for each full year of service if they were laid off. Senior employees such as McMillian were owed six months of base pay, the lawsuit disclosed.

But Twitter only gave laid-off workers at most one month of severance pay, and many of them did not receive anything, McMillian claims.

Twitter laid off more than half of its workforce as a cost-cutting measure after Musk acquired the company in October.

Twitter no longer has a media relations department. The company responded to a request for comment from Reuters with a poop emoji.

The lawsuit accuses Twitter and Musk of violating a federal law regulating employee benefit plans. Twitter has already been sued for allegedly failing to pay severance, but those cases involve breach of contract claims and not the benefits law. The company disclosed that it has paid ex-employees in full.

A pending lawsuit filed last month accuses Twitter of also failing to pay millions of dollars in bonuses it owes to remaining employees. Twitter has said the claims lack merit.

The company is also facing a series of other lawsuits stemming from the layoffs that began last year, including claims that it targeted women and workers with disabilities. Twitter has denied wrongdoing in the cases in which it has filed responses.



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