back to article Former Twitter employees accuse it of holding up 891 arbitrations

A proposed class action brought by a former Twitter worker laid off last year, allegedly for not clicking yes on Elon Musk's "go hardcore or go home" email, has accused the company of holding up 891 arbitrations. The lawsuit claims the company is putting a spanner in the works of the actions even though employees all signed …

  1. sqlrob

    " Twitter's owner must be taking a long weekend break as he hasn't tweeted since Sunday"

    Nah, he's just been rate limited out.

    1. YetAnotherLocksmith Silver badge

      Best of it is, this isn't even a joke. He got caught by his own stupid limits he put in place! $44 billion to buy the eyes of the world, and then he cuts them off... And himself too.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    Musk is a shit

    There is a clear imbalance of power between him and employees. What he is doing is despicable. It is clear that Musk is a bully who only cares about himself.

    Such behaviour should bar him from running any company.

    What does he think that potential suppliers think ? If Twitter was to ask me to do something I would demand payment in full before starting.

    1. abend0c4 Silver badge

      Re: Musk is a shit

      >What does he think that potential suppliers think ?

      I don't think he has any potential suppliers any more. He appears to be hoping that his previous and present suppliers aren't going to wind him up because they'll get nothing at this point. But it does seem to be increasingly likely they'll get nothing ever, so they may just play it for the shits and giggles.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Musk is a shit

        Twitter has some assets, Musk has quite a lot of assets.

        Winding up is very likely the only way most of Twitter's suppliers will see any money at all.

        It's time. Put it out of our misery.

        1. abend0c4 Silver badge

          Re: Musk is a shit

          The banks will have priority claim on the assets if it's wound up - suppliers stand little chance of getting anything.

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Musk is a shit

          "Musk has quite a lot of assets."

          Perhaps not. It's already well know that a lot of his Tesla stock has been pledged against loans and lines of credit. SpaceX is needing to raise hundreds of millions 2-3 times per year as Elon is spending, by his statements, around $2bn/year on Starship. A person at SpaceX leaked that Starlink is only bringing in a 12th of expected revenue and there are issues with the service that can only be remedied with getting the network to the full 42,000 satellite constellation. Satellites that are only projected to have a 5yr lifespan with many failing early already leaving gaps that can't be filled. Neuralink has lost all of its scientist founders. The Boring Company has had two project to date, both in Las Vegas and at least the first one falling far short of the contract requirements. Maybe his Falcon Landing, LLC that owns his Gulfstream jet(s) is doing well.

    2. t245t Silver badge
      Big Brother

      A clear imbalance of power between him and employees?

      @alain williams: "There is a clear imbalance of power between him and employees."

      Get banned on Youtube and they say it's a commercial company.

      Get banned on Twitter and it's a clear imbalance of power.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: A clear imbalance of power between him and employees?

        They are not talking about being banned. This is not a content moderation decision or even a "I don't like this user and it's my company" decision, where Musk has the power and the right to do basically whatever he wants. This is a situation involving employment rights and access to the legal system, where an imbalance in power is a real factor because just owning a company does not give anyone unrestricted rights to decide what their current or former employees may seek legal redress about.

  3. SonofRojBlake

    Query: why compel arbitration?

    My (very poor) understanding is that companies put these clauses in their contracts to compel employees with grievances to use a private arbitration service rather than taking the company to an actual court. I assume this is because, assuming you only dump a couple of employees a week or so, arbitration is cheaper (and more likely to favour the company paying the bills) than a court.

    But if the company that insisted on arbitration is backing away from paying it - why try to force it? Why not say "Oh, you don't want the private arbitration? Court it is then."? Surely any employee walking into court with a grievance is on much stronger ground if their opening statement is along the lines of "I tried to address this issue via the company-contract-mandated arbitration scheme, but they welched on that, so here we are."

    Is there ANYONE left at Twitter with any sense, or have I misunderstood something wildly?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not in Musk's office, that seems to be clear by now.

    2. couru

      Dissuasion. Make as many barriers to someone suing you - every obstacle you introduce is another opportunity for the plaintiff to say "oh fuck it, this isn't worth the effort" and give up.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        It's how the rich STAY rich.

    3. ExampleOne

      The company tried to insist on arbitration, won, and got upset when the class retaliated by using an automatic arbitration filing system.

      The company then went to court to try and set aside the enforced arbitration process in favour of a class action. The judge was not amused.

    4. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Not really misunderstood, but not fully understanding!

      An ex-employee that agreed to arbitration has to demonstrate willingness to live up to their commitments (i.e., do the arbitration thing), because to do otherwise would give the employer grounds to attack whatever substantive complaint(s) that the employee might have.

      So as Twatter refuses to participate in the arbitration, the only action that the employee can ask of a court is to compel Twatter to play ball. They can't ask that the court completely reinvent the contract that agreed to arbitration. The court orders the big T to do submit to arbitration, and if the T refuses and/or fails, Twatter is then in the Shitter of contempt of court.

      While all this is going on, of course, the attorneys for both sides are (probably) exploring ways to make the cases go away without involving either arbitration or further court wrangling. The problem for Twitter is that there are so many claims, so getting time from a Twitter attorney to look at a given case and reckon a given settlement offer "makes sense" is extremely difficult; for the attorneys (if not the company) dealing with One Big Case is probably easier than dealing with 2,000 individual ones. Since these same attorneys are also worried about consent decrees, cranky Europeans, aggravated landlords, feisty suppliers, non-Musk shareholder grumbles, etc. its hardly surprising that they're now regretting their initial tactic of compelling arbitration (via a court ruling)...

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
        Facepalm

        You forget to add that the attorneys are also wondering if they will get paid...

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          "You forget to add that the attorneys are also wondering if they will get paid..."

          If the attorney's on Twitter's side are company employees, they get paid or they'll quit to find work elsewhere leaving a bigger hole. If Twitter is contracting an outside firm, they'll take payment in advance in the form of a retainer and charge their time agains't that account until it's empty and must be topped up again. Lawyers on the ex-employees side may decide to take the cases on contingency for a premium rate if the law requires that Twitter must pay if Twitter loses. The plaintiff might not have to pay much at all if their case is really strong.

          Most business people know that they should settle quickly if the law requires them to pay the opposing side's attorney if they lose. For things such as Copyright infringement where most cases are very cut and dried, trying to draw out the process to bankrupt the plaintiff can backfire spectacularly as their attorney could be working on pure contingency. If you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar, it might make the most sense to admit it right away and only lose getting a cookie for a day rather than claiming innocence and lose getting a cookie for a whole week.

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Megaphone

        The way to make it go away without arbitration or further court wrangling is to make an offer similar to what the employees believe they would get from the arbitrator or the court.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The losers get to write history?

    "It was a public holiday yesterday in the US, commemorating the American colonies' secession from Great Britain,"

    I believe the word you wanted was "celebrating".

    ... and I feel compelled to point out that their glorious revolution happened 25 years before the acts of union formed that johnny-come-lately Great Britain

    </pedant>

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: The losers get to write history?

      Since the 1707 Acts of Union created something called The Kingdom of Great Britain, containing most of the parts of the Great Britain that we have today, including all of the island of Britain, I think that counts as having existed since that year at least. The 1800 acts added Ireland, but only some of that is still in force. Had the sentence called it the United Kingdom, your pedantry might have worked since it looks like that name was created when Ireland got attached, but it didn't say that.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: The losers get to write history?

        @doublelayer

        Top pedantry. Well done, keep it up!

  5. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

    Time to sell more Tesla stock and pay up, Elon. Staff and landlords don't deserve to be stiffed just because you misjudged what Twitter was REALLY worth.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Letter grade

    I'm sorry but I can no longer give Musk an "A" grade for his handling of Twitter. Instead it will be the lowest grade possible given his pedigree, reputation, fanbase, wealth, connections, etc. That would be a corporate "B". (As in Bankruptcy). Never fear, another day, another microdose, another opportunity will arise for Musk.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Letter grade

      I'm sorry but I can no longer give Musk an "A" grade for his handling of Twitter

      No longer? The whole saga never came above 'idiot facing the consequences of being too used not suffering consequences for what he says in public' level.

      It fully exposed him for the hubris spouting ego driven moron he can be. All of this could have been avoided with one mea culpa as "sorry" seems to be too hard a word already, to paraphrase a song.

      1. Blank Reg

        Re: Letter grade

        He has spent far too much time cultivating the myth that he is a genius, he can't now come out and admit that he is an incompetent moron that hasn't a clue what he us doing.

  7. teebie

    'Twitter now "refuses to pay the full arbitration fees for these cases,"'

    So...arbitration has failed and employees can now use civil courts?

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "So...arbitration has failed and employees can now use civil courts?"

      I doubt that any other arbitration company would take Twitter on as a client if they so publicly didn't pay the last one. I'll have to ask an attorney friend if there is a 'speedy trial' clause that applies to arbitration. I wouldn't think that Twitter can say, "sure, we'll take this to arbitration" and then not schedule a date for the hearing and keep giving vague excuses why.

      Lucky me that my boss is a complete moron and A-hole. Full disclosure, I'm self-employed. The last 'real' job I had, I was presented with a contract 2 years in that would require arbitration and that was one of the things I would never agree to. Thinking back, every clause in the document was not in my favor and I told them I wouldn't sign. They were claiming that if everybody didn't sign the new agreement, we couldn't have profit sharing. As it was an aerospace start up in R&D mode, there weren't profits to be shared and none likely until the investors were paid first so me thinks it was all a big lie. Half signed (the fresh-outs) and half didn't (the grizzled veterans). I don't think they ever had any profits to share before they went BK and the assets were acquired by another company. I did see that the landlord is going after the purchaser for a big pile of back rent as they got a sweetheart deal and the landlord may be of the mind that a different company in those buildings might be a safer bet going forward.

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