New York CNN —
After months of uncertainty and feeling left in the dark, many former Twitter employees who were hit by a mass layoff in early November received their severance offers over the weekend. But some are frustrated with the offer and the terms that come with it.
The severance offer promises a monthly salary in exchange for agreeing to various terms, including a non-harassment agreement, and Waving up the right to take legal action against the company, according to Lisa Bloom, an attorney representing dozens of former Twitter employees affected by the layoffs.
Many were unhappy with the offer, according to public officials and attorneys representing former employees, saying it was behind the “3 months compensation‘ that new owner Elon Musk previously promised would be provided. (That period appeared to include pay for the 60-day advance notice that Twitter was required to provide under various state laws.) The amount is also significantly less than competitors like Facebook parent Meta, which are laying off thousands of employees around the clock simultaneously and guaranteed them 16 weeks of base pay plus an additional two weeks for each year they were with the company.
The former Twitter employees now face a choice between accepting the money or joining the hundreds of others who have already filed requests for arbitration or lawsuits against the company.
“We’ve heard from hundreds of Twitter employees who are considering their options and are not happy to be offered only a month’s severance pay after being promised much more,” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, another attorney, working on behalf of former Twitter employees. CNN said in a statement Monday. “We have filed and will continue to file hundreds of arbitration claims.”
The severance fight comes as Musk scrambles to cut costs at the company he bought for $44 billion in October, including a significant amount of debt. After Musk laid off half of the company in early November, Musk continued to downsize and oust more employees, including requiring anyone who remained to sign a pledge of commitment to “hardcore” work obliged.
Twitter’s trust and security team suffered at least a dozen more cuts on Friday, according to a report by Bloomberg over the weekend.
Bloom, who said she has also filed dozens of arbitration requests on behalf of former Twitter employees, said the severance offer does not include prorated bonuses or accelerated stock vesting for eligible employees, which could amount to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost funds for some affected workers. The company typically provided such benefits to laid-off employees prior to Musk’s acquisition, she said.
The severance offer would also require signatory employees to agree not to testify in third-party lawsuits against Twitter. But they would also have to agree to cooperate on Twitter’s behalf in its defense to “make truthful statements” as a witness in a lawsuit against the company, the attorneys said.
A Twitter worker who was fired amid the mass layoffs in early November tweeted over the weekend, urging affected colleagues to “not click or accept anything in this package” without first speaking to a lawyer. “For me personally, money is a component,” they said. “It’s about the principle. I truly believe that we should hold people accountable for the promises they make and for not delivering on those promises.”
To make matters worse, at least one former employee claimed on Twitter that the severance offer ended up in their email’s spam folder.