- After two months of waiting, fired Twitter employees have secured dismissal agreements from Elon Musk.
- The deal access process was so bizarre that many workers fear a phishing attempt.
- Although the agreements are seen as legitimate, some affected workers say they will not sign them.
Hundreds of Twitter employees who were part of Elon Musk’s first round of layoffs have just received redundancy papers after waiting two months. Now they must decide whether to sign or join the lawsuits against the company and its billionaire owner.
In the early hours of Saturday, former Twitter employees laid off on Nov. 4 received a message from “email@example.com,” an email that is not associated with any internal company department, Insider told several people familiar with the situation.
The email was designated as “spam” to most people who received it. After extracting it from spam folders, the message directed people to a website operated by CPT Group to access the full separation agreement.
“As you know, we have had to reduce our global workforce to ensure the success of the business in the future, and your employment has been impacted,” the website reads. “Since we notified you of your status, you have remained on unemployment, employed, and on payroll leave, and this will continue until your separation date. You are also eligible to receive severance pay. extra if you sign a separation agreement and release.”
‘Imagine waiting so long and then getting this’
Even before the laid-off workers received their agreement, many were discussing whether or not to give up their rights in exchange for a month of dismissal. By comparison, laid-off Facebook workers received six months of severance pay when that company carried out mass layoffs in November. Snap offered its workers four months of severance pay when it was laid off in late August.
One person who received an agreement said they had decided not to sign and would instead participate in one of several lawsuits already filed or work related to Musk’s alleged breaches of the merger agreement regarding the benefits and severance pay. Dozens of other affected employees have already signed up to participate in legal actions. The person noted that if the deals had been done sooner, maybe they and others would have been more inclined to sign.
“Imagine waiting so long and then receiving this,” the person said. That person, and others who spoke with Insider, asked not to be identified discussing private matters. A representative for Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
“It’s a sketchy AF”
Everything from spacing out the email text to redirecting to a website no one knew about put former employees on notice. “This is sketchy AF,” one person wrote in a post. Another person noted that the long wait for dismissal documents has made many people “prime targets” for phishing attempts.
Still, two people familiar with Twitter’s actions said the site is legit and noted that this will be how all breakup or separation agreements are distributed by Twitter. The website also uses Twitter’s official blue and white bird logo and official separation agreements reportedly show Musk’s signature.
Workers who were laid off or resigned around Nov. 4 expect to receive separation agreements, two people familiar with the company said. However, those who quit a few weeks later over Musk’s “hardcore Twitter 2.0” email have yet to receive an agreement to sign, the sources said.
As for the separation agreements, they seem to be mostly boilerplate, offering a month’s salary to terminated employees as severance pay. On November 4, Musk tweeted that “everyone is out” was offered 3 months of severance, claiming it was 50% more than legally required. The tech billionaire may have confused ‘no work’ spells of employment which then saw thousands of workers continue to be paid since November, pending their severance pay. State labor laws require companies to provide certain notice periods for mass layoffs.
In order to receive the extra month’s pay, the laid-off workers must sign the proposed contract, which prohibits them from participating in any lawsuits against the company, or from speaking publicly or to the press about Twitter. Such clauses are typical of break-up agreements.
Are you a tech employee or someone else with ideas to share? Contact Kali Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org, on the secure messaging app Signal at 949-280-0267, or via Twitter DM at @hayskali. Reach out using a non-professional device.