TikTok isn’t the only one suing over President Donald Trump’s executive order targeting the wildly popular video app.
In a separate suit filed Monday, a TikTok employee also took the Trump administration to court, arguing the executive order unlawfully jeopardizes his family’s livelihood and asking for a federal judge to ensure that TikTok employees can continue to be paid.
The suit was filed by Patrick Ryan, a US-based program manager at TikTok, and alleges that Trump’s executive order is so vague in its language restricting future “transactions” with TikTok that it could make receiving a salary from the company a federal crime.
“Last week, President Trump issued an executive order that prohibits any entity and any person from transacting business with Tiktok after 45 days,” Ryan said in a TikTok video posted to a GoFundMe campaign created to finance the suit. “That means that after Sept. 20, myself and 1,500 of my colleagues won’t be able to receive a paycheck, because it will be illegal for the company to pay us. This is a step too far.”
The Justice Department declined to comment. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Under Trump’s order, banks, credit firms and payroll providers “would not dare to engage in any activity that might be construed as a violation,” including handling TikTok salaries, said the employee complaint, which was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.
The order’s ambiguity over what types of contact with TikTok would be banned represents an unconstitutional violation of Ryan’s rights to due process, as well as an “unconstitutional taking” of Ryan’s property under the Fifth Amendment, the complaint argues.
TikTok employs over 1,500 workers in the United States, some of whom are US citizens and others who are in the country on work visas. Both types of employees risk having their personal property unconstitutionally threatened by Trump’s executive order, said Alexander Urbelis, an attorney representing Ryan.
“This is a lawsuit about protecting the wages and salaries of US employees that’s used to put food on the table and provide shelter for their families,” Urbelis said.
There is no connection between Ryan’s suit and TikTok’s corporate challenge to the executive order, which was filed in a different court, Urbelis said. Ryan informed TikTok of his intent to sue, but the company has played no role in Ryan’s suit, said Urbelis and Mike Godwin, another of his attorneys.
TikTok confirmed to CNN on Monday that Ryan had notified the company of his lawsuit and said the company is not involved.
In his video, Ryan said he had put $5,000 of his own money toward the suit. His GoFundMe set a goal of $30,000.