Twitter is Withholding Payments and Severance

Image by Chris from Pixabay

Earlier this week came news Chief Twit may try to deny paying severance to thousands of laid off employees which would be a blatant violation of labor laws..

From the moment Elon Musk began layoffs at Twitter, former employees immediately started suing. In a matter of weeks, Twitter was hit with multiple class-action lawsuits, with employees alleging that Twitter violated laws by denying proper severance and discriminating against women and staff with disabilities or on family or medical leave. These class actions didn’t seem to faze Musk, though, as he continued with staff cuts without delivering promised severance to many. Instead of paying ex-employees, he eventually further escalated threats to terminate remaining staff, abruptly firing employees for criticizing him and threatening to sue employees who leak internal Twitter communications.

It’s clear that Musk feels confident facing down potential legal battles against former Twitter staff, but what’s not clear is who he imagines will be helping him win. Yesterday The New York Times reported that Musk has begun to “shake up” his legal team at Twitter as he gets ready to overcome all these claims, according to seven people familiar with what’s going on at Twitter. He even reportedly dismissed one of his closest legal allies, his personal attorney, Alex Spiro, after Musk discovered that it was Spiro who made a controversial call to retain Twitter general counsel James A. Baker.

Now comes word Twitter has refused to make their quarterly payments of around  $1,092,000 to Imply Data, Inc. for a software contract which does not expire until September 30, 2024. Imply makes a database based on Apache Druid open source software as well as products for managing and monitoring Druid clusters. The contract has been in force for around four year and prior to Musk taking over quarterly payments were made.

Twitter continued making quarterly payments on the contract until Musk completed the purchase in late October. “However, shortly after Musk’s purchase of Twitter closed, Twitter refused to pay the outstanding quarterly invoice, which was due on November 30, 2022, and Twitter disclaimed any obligation to pay any future invoices from Imply, despite the unambiguous language in the software license and service agreement requiring Twitter to do so,” the lawsuit said.

There does not seem to be a clear reason as to why Twitter is no longer paying the contract or for that matter refusing to accept the terns of the contract. Perhaps the remaining staff have discovered they were paying a vendor for services they no longer used (or needed) or more like because Chief Twit doesn’t want to pay it and is pretending it does not exist. Another possible and actually very plausible reason could be simply Twitter is broke. Regardless it will be interesting to see if this (and the other pending lawsuits) move to trial or Twitter lawyer’s (if there are any left that haven’t been fired or quit) strike a deal. Worse case scenario Twitter does declare bankruptcy which would be bad for the vendor, but possibly beneficial to the ex-employees as they would need to be paid first with the dissolved assets.

via ARS Technica