Current and former
You’ll recall that Musk acquired the formerly publicly-traded company Twitter, Inc. last week after a drawn-out haggling process that lasted months. The finalization of that sale turned Twitter into the property of the world’s richest person. So on Thursday, Musk used the sudden, unilateral power he wields over his
Twitter founder and ex-CEO Jack Dorsey, for his part, seems eager to take on the blame for these layoffs instead of Musk. He
The lawyer organizing the suit, Shannon Liss-Riordan,
At Tesla, Liss-Riordan claims, “Employees were immediately asked to sign away all of their rights for a week or two of severance pay, even though the federal and state WARN Act requires 60 days severance pay when there is a mass layoff,” she said.
This time around, Liss-Riordan told Bloomberg on Friday, Musk “is making an effort to comply” with the law. “I am pleased that Elon Musk learned something from the lawsuit we brought against him at Tesla,” she said.
Musk claims that everyone “exited” in this round of layoffs received an offer including “3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required.” But it’s not yet clear what sort of agreements laid-off employees have to sign in order to become the recipients of Musk’s generosity.
According to The Washington Post, it appears employees are being subject to a practice called “pay in place of notice,” in order to stay roughly within the bounds of the law. Instead of warning them 60 or 90 days in advance that layoffs are coming, this plan pays them through 60 or 90 days and keeps them employed on paper for all that time, even though they’re not working anymore. But the Post also notes that according to The Labor Department,
New York lawyer Misty Marris
“In general,” Marris further explained to Law & Crime, “there are clauses in severance agreements that give employees time to contemplate the severance agreement and also to assess that they fully read and understand the agreement.”
But far from being unusual, this round of layoffs itself appears to be in keeping with Musk’s established strategy for putting people out of work, and keeping the ensuing legal matters out of the actual courts. It worked when he did it at Tesla. Let’s see if it works again.