What is the WARN law? Elon Musk's mass layoff at Twitter alleged to be illegal

Twitter is now trying to be in line with the act, and has told ex-employees that they will be provided with severance agreement by next week

What is the WARN law? Elon Musk's mass layoff at Twitter alleged to be illegal
Twitter is being accused of violating WARN act as many ex-employees seek legal action (Justin Sullivan, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: In the wake of reports that Twitter has already shrunk their number of employees by firing 3,700 employees, many are said to be pursuing legal action against their former company. They are said to have been armed with the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining (WARN) Act which asks businesses with more than 100 employees to provide at least 60 days notice period before going ahead with mass layoffs.

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Now, this certainly is not the case with the current scenario in Twitter’s case, as it is alleged that employees were offered only a one-month timeframe. The Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining (WARN) Act calls for mass layoffs when at least 500 employees are let go during a 30-day period, or at least 50 employees if that is one third of an organization’s workforce. However, the organization can offer 60 days of severance pay as compensation instead of a notice period.

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What if an organization violates the WARN act?

WARN act is applicable in states including Ilinois, California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. If a company is found of any wrongdoing, it will require to pay 60 days of back pay to the laid off worker. Further, $500 per violation per day will be levied on the company.

Did Twitter owner Elon Musk fail to follow the rules?

The employees who have taken legal routes against the microblogging site allege that some of them were fired without notice or severance pay. Shannon Liss-Riordan, a lawyer on Friday, November 4, said that Twitter is trying to be in line with the act, and has told ex-employees that they will be provided with severance agreement by next week. Once they get their severance amount, they won’t be able to file legal action against the organization.

Liss-Riordan who is representing a few of Twitter’s former employees added that she would be investigating "how Twitter chose employees for layoff and whether any discrimination or retaliation was involved." It is expected that the employees might be asked by the court to pursue their cases in private arbitration rather than the court, as it is said over half of private-sector US workers have signed agreements to get issues to resolve an employment-related legal dispute at these platforms, reports The Hindu.

Some of the reactions on Twitter's violation of the WARN act are also being shared. Lisa Bloom, an employment attorney wrote, “Hey Twitter employees getting laid off tomorrow! IMPORTANT INFO from a CA employment attorney (me): CA's 'WARN' law requires Twitter to give you 60 days notice of a massive layoff. A layoff of 50+ employees within a 30-day period qualifies. I know you didn't get that notice.” Another said, "He doesn’t need you to explain anything, he obviously has attorneys and knows the deal. Go find another ambulance to chase and another platform.” One referred to a case at Musk’s Tesla, “Elon tried to lay off everyone in the Las Vegas office of Tesla solar last year, without the 60 days notice. The company just kept telling us the lay off was coming, but never made an official announcement of lay off. As each deadline approached, it was pushed back.” “As long as he provides at least 60 days severance pay on the date of termination, it’s legal,” one tweeted.

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