A Twitter employee with a nine-month-old baby and another well on the way, at eight months pregnant, says she had her access to her company laptop unceremoniously cut off the day before workers were to be told if they were losing their jobs or not.
Rachel Bonn, former Twitter product marketing manager, posted a photo of herself very pregnant and holding her baby Thursday night as other employees also announced that they’d been locked out of the workspaces.
“Last Thursday in the SF office, really the last day Twitter was Twitter. 8 months pregnant and have a 9 month old,” wrote Bonn. “Just got cut off from laptop access.”
After Elon Musk said to some investors that he planned to cut 75 percent of Twitter’s staff, then seemed to walk it back, reports are now coming in that as much as half of all workers at the company will be axed in the coming days.
On Thursday, employees received a memo saying that they would be informed via their personal email if they had been laid off, and by that night some of the workers were tweeting that they could no longer log in to their workplace accounts.
Being laid off is always awful, but particularly so for those who are about to expand their families. Bonn and others like her are unsure if their company health insurance will cover their imminent hospital bills.
The layoffs come as no surprise after Musk was forced to buy Twitter after making an offer and then trying to back out of the deal, causing chaos as the company’s value in the stock market tanked. After he started losing in court, he relented and finalized the deal to purchase the platform for $44 billion, and had to borrow heavily from folks including the Saudis to afford it.
Now looking at $1 billion per year in debt payments alone, Musk seems to be desperate to find ways to make the company profitable, which it wasn’t even before he made his ill-advised offer in the first place. However, his promises to make Twitter a bastion of free speech (which only brought out the trolls) and his terrible plan to essentially nuke the verification feature and charge $8 a month for a badge of embarrassment seem to be chasing top advertisers away.
It’s going so badly that on Friday morning, Musk posted a humiliating tweet admitting that he was losing money faster than ever before, blaming the advertiser exodus on “activist groups” he can’t name.
Things may get even worse for Musk following the mass layoffs, guaranteed to not make advertisers feel better about where the platform is going, as a class action lawsuit has already been filed on behalf of Twitter workers residing in California. The state’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires employers with 75 or more employees to provide 60 days of notice before enacting a mass layoff.
Half the company definitely qualifies as a mass layoff, and these Twitter workers received a written notice just hours before they lost their income. If the lawsuit is successful, Musk will have to pay a fine of $500 per canned employee, pay each of them their full salary for 60 days, and cover medical expenses incurred during that period, according to attorney Lisa Bloom.
Bloom reported soon after posting her initial thread about the lawsuit that many former employees had already contacted her, but may have been beaten to the punch by Shannon Liss-Riordan, who had filed a class action suit by this morning. However, Bloom says she will also be looking into the discrimination angle, noting that the speed at which these layoffs took place may leave the company vulnerable if they disproportionately fired people from certain protected groups.
At this point, it appears to be a billionaire race to the bottom between Musk and fellow walking natural disaster Kanye West.