Jan 14 (Reuters) – Twitter Inc has won a ruling allowing the social media company to force several laid-off workers who sued over their dismissal to bring their claims through individual arbitration instead of a class action.
US District Judge James Donato ruled Friday that five former Twitter employees seeking a class action lawsuit accusing the company of failing to provide adequate notice before firing them after their acquisition by Elon Musk must file their claims in a private arbitration.
Donato agreed to Twitter’s request to force the five former employees to file their claims individually, citing agreements they signed with the company.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
However, the San Francisco judge left for another day “as warranted by developments in the case” whether to dismiss the entire class action lawsuit, as noted by three other former Twitter employees who claimed they had opted out of the lawsuit. The company’s arbitration agreement have joined the lawsuit after it was first filed.
The lawyer representing the plaintiffs, Shannon Liss-Riordan, said Monday that she had already filed 300 arbitration claims on behalf of former Twitter employees and would likely file hundreds more.
All of those workers say they have not received the full severance package promised by Twitter before Musk took office. Some have also alleged discrimination based on sex or disability.
Last year, Donato had ruled that Twitter must notify the thousands of workers who were laid off after its acquisition by Musk following a proposed class action lawsuit that accused the company of failing to give adequate notice before firing them.
The judge said that before asking workers to sign termination agreements giving up their ability to sue the company, Twitter must give them “concise and clearly worded notice.”
Twitter laid off about 3,700 employees in early November in a cost-cutting move by Musk, and hundreds more have since quit.
In December last year, Twitter was also accused by dozens of former employees of various legal violations stemming from Musk’s acquisition of the company, including firing women and failing to pay promised severance payments.
Twitter also faces at least three complaints filed with a US labor board alleging workers were fired for criticizing the company, attempting to stage a strike and other conduct protected by federal labor law.
Reporting by Mrinmay Dey in Bengaluru, Nate Raymond in Boston and Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York, editing by Angus MacSwan and Deepa Babington
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