A group of former Twitter employees sued the company. The engineers claim that the layoffs that took place at Twitter after the arrival of new company owner Elon Musk were accompanied by numerous violations of labor rights. Also cleaners at the company's headquarters said they were not compensated after they were fired, as they had been promised.
“Real people were affected by this, I have a family, I have kids to support. All that we’re looking for is fairness,” former Twitter engineer Wren Turkal said during a press conference in San Francisco.
According to CNN, another former Twitter engineer, Emmanuel Cornett, in turn said that people were fired in a really clumsy, inhumane way. He also did not rule out that the layoffs were made in violation of the law.
The four lawsuits, all claiming class-action status, relate to claims by former employees that the company had previously broken a promise to allow employees to work remotely after Musk bought Twitter. In addition, they were not paid their promised compensation after they were fired. One of the claims involves disability and gender discrimination.
The company's staff has been more than halved since Elon Musk's arrival. Musk fired half of his employees almost immediately after he became CEO. Later, he fired engineers who openly criticized him, causing him to be called Voldemort, the main villain of the Harry Potter saga. After a while, many of the company's employees began to quit voluntarily when Musk sent them an ultimatum demanding that they either work "long hours and high intensity" or be fired. When Elon Musk bought Twitter, the company had about 7,500 employees. Now there are about 2,700 left.
Former cleaners at Twitter's San Francisco headquarters told the BBC that they were not compensated after they were fired.
Adrianna Villarreal, who worked as a janitor at Twitter for four years, said she now worries that she won't have enough money to feed her family. "It's a sad and frustrating thing for our families and children," she said.
Julio Alvarado worked as a Twitter cleaner for 10 years. He said the atmosphere at the company has always been friendly. But that all changed when Ilon Musk took over Twitter in October. "People worked without worries. Now we are afraid," he said, adding that after Musk arrived, he had to clean up some parts of the office under the supervision of company security.
One of Elon Musk's teammates told him that his job would soon be unnecessary because robots would replace him.
A small group of janitors has been protesting in front of Twitter headquarters for days. Senator Scott Wiener told the BBC the cleaners had been treated "horribly" and like “garbage”.
"In the short term, I'd like to see him [Elon Musk] treat his janitors like human beings," said Mr Wiener, "and get them back working - not just throw them out right before Christmas."
San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu said he is investigating the case to determine whether Musk broke the law by firing people. "Elon Musk has had a long history of flouting labour laws," Chiu told the BBC.