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Musk wins legal battle to force fired Twitter employees into arbitration

Musk wins legal battle to force fired Twitter employees into arbitration

The weekend delivered disappointing news for laid off Twitter employees who launched a class action in November against the social media platform immediately after CEO Elon Musk launched the first round of layoffs at the company. Friday, a The U.S. District Judge ruled that five plaintiffs who proposed the class action should instead enter individual arbitration to pursue their claims that Twitter violated employment laws.

This does not mean, however, that the class action has completely collapsed. U.S. District Judge James Donato wrote in his order that while these five employees waived their right to sue by signing optional arbitration agreements under Twitter’s former owner, three other plaintiffs added later to the lawsuit said to have withdrawn. These employees still have the right to pursue the proposed class action lawsuit, which alleges discrimination based on gender and disability during the layoffs and argues that Twitter still has to appropriate severance packages and lost wages.

“After Twitter filed its motion, plaintiffs amended their complaint to add three named plaintiffs who say they opted out of Twitter’s arbitration agreement,” Donato wrote.

The five ex-employees excluded from the class action had attempted to argue that Twitter’s arbitration agreements were unreasonable, or in legal terms, “unconscionable.” But Donato wrote that the former employees failed to prove that claim because “Twitter provided signed copies of the agreements, and they’re all plain and simple.” The agreements specified that the issue of their “enforceability and validity” could only be resolved by an arbitrator.

Twitter could not immediately be reached for comment.

Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney representing plaintiffs in the individual arbitration and pending class action, said in a press release last week that her firm had already filed 300 arbitration claims on behalf of former employees. from Twitter.

Ars could not immediately reach Liss-Riordan for comment on the class action proceeding, but Donato wrote that the plaintiffs’ complaint “will be pursued at a later date as developments in the case warrant.”

According to Liss-Riordan’s press release, her firm has filed four total class action lawsuits against Twitter and plans to continue filing numerous other arbitration claims, which she says could become costly for Twitter to defend. Her company has already helped ex-employees recover millions through arbitration, and she’s not alone in fighting back over Twitter layoffs. Another lawyer, Lisa Bloom, is representing other former employees pursuing arbitration claimsand Reuters reported that Twitter is also facing at least three complaints filed with the United States Labor Commission.

“Musk’s decision to defraud Twitter employees is not only shameful, it’s also going to be very costly,” Liss-Riordan said in his press release. “These claims will be extremely costly and time-consuming for Twitter to defend. Insisting that workers file claims one by one has backfired on many companies our company has hired. These companies believe they can drive employees away and not enforce their rights using arbitration clauses, but we made them regret what they wanted.

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