Twitter Faces Class Action Lawsuit Claiming Sex Discrimination

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on December 13, 2022

The mass layoffs haunt Twitter. When Elon Musk purchased Twitter, things changed quickly, and once the dust settled, around half of the staff found themselves without a job. As a result, Twitter has faced lawsuits, spam campaigns, failures, and now, a lawsuit over sex discrimination. Moreover, the mass layoffs were not the end.

Former employees have been speaking out: Plenty had something to say after Musk’s takeover and the mass layoffs, even a few people who made national news after lying about being employees. However, former employees Carolina Strifling and Willow Turkal are leading the charge in the class action lawsuit alleging women were disproportionately impacted by the layoffs and subsequent actions.

  • The claims state that 57% of the female employees working at the time of the takeover were laid off, while only 47% of the male employees were laid off. Importantly, more men were working at Twitter prior to the mass layoffs.
  • When focused on engineering jobs, the disparity becomes 63% of women and 48% of men.

The disparity is significant: According to Shannon Liss-Riordan, the lawyer representing the former employees, “The mass termination of employees at Twitter has impacted female employees to a much greater extent than male employees – and to a highly statistically significant degree.”

Additionally, Liss-Riordan pointed out previous “publicly discriminatory remarks about women” made by Musk, claiming it supported the increased impact being a byproduct of discrimination.

Musk’s ultimatum made matters worse. His demand that employees commit to long hours at a high intensity pushed many remaining employees to resign after the mass layoffs. It saw 36% of women leaving Twitter, compared to 28% of men.

The lawsuit alleges that the difference is due to women being “caregivers for children and other family members” more often than men, thus making them unable to meet the demands.

Misleading separation agreements are a concern. Previous mass layoffs at Tesla received attention for not giving workers adequate warning. A judge ruled that Tesla must notify workers in advance and brought up potential “misleading” separation agreements that had workers waive their rights under the WARN Act for a severance package equal to a week of pay.

The Twitter employees behind filing the lawsuit are concerned that the same thing might happen to their colleagues, so they are seeking “immediate relief.”

It could be a long process, but Liss-Riordan said she is dedicated to showing that “the richest man in the world is not above the law.” She even said they are ready “to go through arbitration one by one” if necessary. She continued, “Of all the issues facing Elon Musk, this is the easiest to address: treat the workers with respect, pay them what they deserve under the law.”

Musk is facing high-profile legal problems on multiple fronts. Twitter is facing several lawsuits and allegations over the firings and more since his takeover, including potential legal trouble due to copyright content appearing on the social media network after a failure of its copyright strike system.

Musk’s other companies are the same, with Tesla facing legal trouble that includes racial discrimination allegations. Additionally, SpaceX recently received an age discrimination accusation by a former engineer, John Johnson, while Neuralink is under investigation over animal testing.

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Spencer Hulse is the Editorial Director at Grit Daily. He is responsible for overseeing other editors and writers, day-to-day operations, and covering breaking news.

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