After months of uncertainty and feeling left in the dark, many former Twitter employees impacted by a mass layoff in early November began receiving their severance offers over the weekend. But some are frustrated by the offer and the conditions attached to it.
The severance offer promises one month’s pay in exchange for agreeing to various terms, including a non-disparagement agreement and waiving the right to take any legal action against the company, according to Lisa Bloom, a lawyer representing dozens of former Twitter employees affected by the layoffs.
Many were dissatisfied by the offer, according to public posts and attorneys representing ex-employees, saying it falls short of the “3 months of severance” that new owner Elon Musk had previously promised would be provided. (That time period appeared to include pay for the 60-days advanced notice Twitter was obligated to provide under various state laws.) The amount is also significantly less than provided at rivals like Facebook-parent Meta, which laid off thousands of workers around the same time and guaranteed them 16 weeks of base pay plus two additional weeks for each year they were employed at the company.
“We’ve been hearing from hundreds of Twitter employees who are considering their options and not happy about only being offered one month severance, after they were promised much more,” Shannon Liss-Riordan, another lawyer working on behalf of former Twitter employees, told CNN in a statement Monday. “We have filed hundreds of arbitration claims already and will continue to file them.”
The severance fight comes as Musk scrambles to cut costs at the company he bought in October for $44 billion, including a significant amount of debt. After laying off half the company in early November, Musk continued cutting and pushing out additional employees, including by requiring anyone who remained to sign a pledge committing to “hardcore” work.
Twitter’s trust and safety team experienced at least a dozen additional cuts on Friday, according to a report from Bloomberg over the weekend.
Bloom, who said she has also filed dozens of demands for arbitration on behalf of former Twitter employees, said the severance offer does not include pro-rated bonuses or accelerated stock vesting for eligible employees, which could amount to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of 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 that employees who sign agree not to cooperate as a witness in any legal actions brought by third parties against Twitter. But they would also have to agree to cooperate on behalf of Twitter in its defense to “provide truthful information” as a witness in any legal action against the company, according to the attorneys.
One Twitter employee laid off during the early November mass layoffs tweeted over the weekend urging fellow affected employees not to “click or accept ANYTHING in that package” without first speaking to an attorney. “For me personally, the money is one component,” they said. “It’s about principle. I strongly believe that we should be keeping people accountable for the promises that they make and failing to deliver on them.”
To add insult to injury, at least one former employee claimed on Twitter that the severance offer went to their email’s spam folder.