Twitter fired greater than 950 California workers after being acquired by Elon Musk, WARN launch reveals

Elon Musk’s Twitter profile page seen on an Apple iPhone mobile phone.

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After Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took over Twitter last week, the social networking giant began severe downsizing. The cuts affected a total of 983 employees in California, its home state, according to three resignation letters the company sent to local government agencies and obtained by CNBC.

The company’s new owner, CEO and sole director, Musk, tweeted Friday afternoon, “Unfortunately, in terms of reducing Twitter’s power, there is no other choice when the company is losing more than $4 million a day. Every exit was offered a three-month severance package, which is 50% more than the law requires.”

Twitter’s reduction in power extended beyond California, and CNBC couldn’t immediately confirm whether Musk’s description is accurate. Losing $4 million a day at the company would translate to around $1.5 billion in annual losses.

The state Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act generally requires employers to give 60 days’ notice of mass layoffs or plant closures in California.

Twitter notified affected employees on Nov. 4, according to letters from Twitter shared by California’s Employment Development Department. Many of these employees described losing access to email and other internal systems at Twitter overnight on November 3 in public posts on social media, including on Twitter itself.

This type of agreement may serve as a “termination payment” in California, depending on the specific terms of employment. Permanent layoffs are expected to begin in January 2023, according to the WARN announcements.

In three separate California WARN letters signed by Twitter’s Human Resources department but not individual executives, the company wrote, “Affected employees will be paid all wages and other benefits to which they are entitled up to the date of their termination.”

According to the WARN notice, Twitter has laid off approximately 784 San Francisco employees, including nine senior and senior officials or managers, 147 middle employees who typically report directly to top managers, 592 other professionals, and 36 sales and administrative staff combined.

At the company’s satellite locations in Santa Monica, Twitter has shed about 93 employees, including 17 middle-level officers and managers, 66 professionals and 10 combined sales and administrative staff, the WARN release showed.

At a San Jose office, Twitter cut about 106 employees, including one senior or senior official or manager, 18 middle officials and managers, 85 professionals and two administrative staff, according to the WARN notice.

Twitter was sued Thursday by former employees in a planned class-action lawsuit filed by workers’ rights attorney Shannon Liss Riordan and others who were concerned that employees were not properly notified under federal and California law that they were would be terminated in the case of mass redundancies.

Shannon Liss-Riordan, a labor rights attorney representing the terminated Twitter employees, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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