Twitter is informing its employees that they have been laid off via email.
On Thursday, Insider’s Kali Hays reported that Twitter employees would be notified of layoffs affecting approximately 50% of the workforce.
Shortly after the report, Twitter sent a memo to its employees confirming the layoffs and temporarily closing its offices. It was Twitter employees’ first communication from the company since Elon Musk took over last week.
According to a court document, a lawsuit was filed against Twitter on Thursday, alleging that the social media company now led by Elon Musk violated federal and state laws requiring 60 days’ notice of mass layoffs.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, names five current or former employees as plaintiffs, one of whom was told he was fired effective Tuesday. Twitter is named as the defendant.
However, Twitter has informed employees that they will continue to receive pay and benefits even if they are no longer employed. According to an email sent by Twitter to laid-off employees in New York and obtained by NBC News, Friday was their last “working day” at the company, but they would be paid until their separation date in February. Another Twitter employee who received a severance email and requested anonymity said they were told they would be paid until early February and would receive full benefits.
According to the lawsuit, three other employees have been locked out of their Twitter accounts as of Thursday, with no formal notice of a layoff, which they interpret to mean they will lose their jobs.
The lawsuit claims that “Twitter is now engaged in mass layoffs without providing the required notice under the federal WARN Act,” referring to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires 60-day notice for certain plant closings or mass layoffs.
Twitter announced Thursday that it would begin layoffs in “an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path,” according to an email obtained by NBC News. The email stated that employees would be notified of their employment status via email.
After completing the acquisition of Twitter last week, Musk was widely expected to reduce the company’s 7,500-person workforce. The final number of layoffs is unknown.
The lawsuit asks a court to declare Twitter in violation of the WARN Act and order it to stop. According to the document, it also seeks to prevent Twitter from attempting to obtain releases from employees without first informing them of their rights and the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was first reported by Bloomberg late Thursday. The attorney who filed the complaint, Shannon Liss-Riordan, told the news outlet that workers should be aware of their rights.
“We filed this lawsuit tonight to make sure that employees are aware that they should not sign away their rights and that they have a channel for pursuing their rights,” Liss-Riordan told Bloomberg.
According to the lawsuit, news reports indicate that widespread layoffs will begin on Friday.
According to a Twitter employee, Thursday’s email was the first communication from the company since the acquisition on Oct. 27.
“It’s total chaos, the house is melting down, and everyone is focused on this email,” the employee explained.
The headquarters of Twitter are in San Francisco.
According to the suit, four of the plaintiffs worked in San Francisco, and a fifth worked at the company’s office in Cambridge, Massachusetts.