Two months after Elon Musk laid off half of Twitter’s workforce, some employees affected say they have yet to receive any formal severance offer or separation agreement.
One former Twitter employee told CNN that they had expected to receive some information from the company by Wednesday, the last official employment date for many workers affected by the first wave of layoffs under Musk based on state and federal notice period regulations.
As of early Thursday, however, the former employee said they had yet to receive any documents related to a severance agreement or offer. Other laid-off employees tweeted similar remarks this week, including one who said they had “never even seen a severance letter let alone been offered severance.”
A spokesperson for Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney representing hundreds of former Twitter employees, confirmed that her clients who were hit by the Twitter layoffs in early November also had yet to receive any severance information as of Thursday. “There was some anticipation that they would be sent yesterday, but we haven’t seen that,” Kevin Ready, the spokesperson, said of the severance agreements.
“Yesterday was the official separation date for thousands of Twitter employees, and after months of chaos and uncertainty created by Elon Musk, these workers remain in the lurch,” Liss-Riordan said in a Thursday statement.
The employee concerns come 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.
The company was recently sued by a commercial landlord and a private flight company alleging Twitter has failed to pay bills. And The New York Times last month reported that Twitter was considering denying laid off employees their severance as a cost-cutting measure, citing people familiar with the talks among company leadership, adding to the sense of uncertainty for affected workers.
Twitter, which cut much of its public relations department as part of the layoffs, did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the claims it has not offered or paid any severance. At the time of the layoffs, Musk promised that “everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance,” a time period that appears to include the 60-days advanced notice Twitter was obligated to provide.
A report by Fortune on Thursday afternoon, citing an unnamed source familiar with the situation and screenshots viewed by the publication, said that Twitter planned to send severance agreements to affected employees on Thursday, although it was unclear exactly when they would go out. The severance agreements were set to provide laid off US employees with one month’s base pay and would include a provision requiring employees to waive participation in pending lawsuits against the company, according to the report.
Liss-Riordan has filed four proposed class action lawsuits against Twitter on behalf of employees affected by layoffs, with claims including that Twitter backtracked on promises to allow remote work and consistent severance benefits, as well as complaints related to alleged disability and gender-based discrimination. She has also filed three claims against Twitter with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of former employees. Liss-Riordan said Thursday that she has also filed another 100 demands for arbitration against Twitter on behalf of former employees, after filing an initial 100 last month.
Last month, the employees represented by Liss-Riordan scored an early win in court when a judge ordered Twitter to inform laid-off employees of the pending lawsuits before asking them to sign any separation agreements that include a release of legal claims.