Twitter Inc. must notify the thousands of workers laid off after its acquisition by Elon Musk of a proposed class-action lawsuit that accuses the company of failing to provide adequate notice before laying them off, a federal judge in San Francisco has ruled.
U.S. District Judge James Donato said in a three-page order Wednesday that before asking workers to sign severance papers waiving their ability to sue the company, Twitter must give them “a concise and clearly worded notice” of the lawsuit filed last month.
Twitter laid off roughly 3,700 employees in early November in a cost-cutting move by Musk, and hundreds more quit.
The lawsuit says Twitter failed to provide the 60-day notice required by federal and California law before engaging in mass layoffs. Twitter has denied wrongdoing.
Judge Donato said in the ruling that asking workers to drop legal claims against Twitter without telling them about the lawsuit would be misleading.
Twitter had agreed not to seek release from furloughed workers pending Judge Donato̵7;s decision.
Shannon Liss-Riordan, an attorney for the plaintiffs, called the decision “a basic but important step that will empower employees to better understand their rights instead of just signing them away.”
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
The company had argued that termination was unnecessary because most of its employees had signed agreements requiring them to arbitrate legal disputes and waive the ability to join class-action lawsuits against the company.
Judge Donato is scheduled to hold a hearing next month on Twitter’s motion to send the case to arbitration. The plaintiffs amended their complaint this month to add workers who say they never signed arbitration agreements.