Elon Musk’s Twitter employees finally got severance contracts

  • After two months of waiting, fired Twitter employees received severance pay from Elon Musk.
  • The process of accessing the contracts was so strange that many workers feared identity theft attempts.
  • Some affected workers say they won’t sign because of how much they are being asked to give up.

Hundreds of Twitter employees who were part of Elon Musk’s first round of layoffs have just received their severance papers after a two-month wait. Now they must decide whether to sign or join the lawsuits against the company and its billionaire owner.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, former Twitter employees fired on Nov. 4 received a message from “[email protected],” an email not associated with any internal department at the company, several people familiar with the situation told Insider.

The email was marked as “spam” by most people who received it. After being pulled from the spam folder, 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 company’s progress, and this has impacted your employment,” the website said. “Since we notified you of your status, you have remained on notice, employed and on the payroll, and will continue to do so until the date of your divorce. You are also entitled to additional severance pay if you sign a divorce agreement and resign.”

‘Imagine waiting this long and then you get this’

Even before the laid-off workers received their contracts, many were debating whether or not to sign away their rights in exchange for a month’s severance pay. By comparison, laid-off workers at Facebook received six months of severance pay when the company announced mass layoffs in November. Snap offered its workers four months of severance pay in late August layoffs.

One person who received the contract said she had decided not to sign, and would instead participate in one of several lawsuits already filed or in the works related to Musk’s alleged violations of the merger agreement related to employee benefits and severance. Dozens of other affected employees have already signed up to take part in legal proceedings. The person noted that if the agreements had arrived earlier, perhaps they and other people would have been more inclined to sign.

“Imagine waiting that long and then you get this,” the person said. This person, as well as others who spoke to Insider, asked not to be identified discussing private matters. A Twitter representative did not respond to a request for comment.

‘This is unfinished AF’

Everything from white-space text in an email to redirecting to a website no one was familiar with made former employees wary. “This is sketchy AF,” one person wrote in the message. Another person noted that the long wait for severance paperwork has left many people “prime targets” for identity theft attempts.

Still, two people familiar with Twitter’s actions said the site is legitimate and noted that this will be how Twitter distributes any termination or separation agreements. The website also uses Twitter’s official blue and white bird logo, and official separation agreements reportedly feature Musk’s signature.

Workers who were either laid off or quit around Nov. 4 expect to receive a severance agreement, two people familiar with the company said. However, those who resigned a few weeks later because of Musk’s “hardcore Twitter 2.0” email have yet to receive a contract to sign, the sources said.

As for the separation agreements, they seem to be mostly boilerplate, offering one month’s salary to the laid-off employees as severance pay. November 4 Musk chirped that “everyone left” was offered 3 months of severance pay with the explanation that it is 50% more than the legal obligation. The tech billionaire may have been linking periods of “non-working” employment in which thousands of workers later received their paychecks from November while they waited for severance pay. State labor laws require companies to provide certain notice periods for mass layoffs.

In order to receive one month’s additional pay, the laid-off workers must sign the proposed contract, which prohibits them from participating in any lawsuit or mass arbitration against the company, or making public and press statements about Twitter. Such clauses are typical for termination contracts. However, the agreements also call for former employees to forego any future stock payments or bonus payments to which they may have been entitled.

“Let the lawsuits begin,” said another person who received a separation agreement and is not signing it.

Are you a techie or someone else with insight to share? Contact Kali Hays at [email protected], in the secure messaging app Signal at 949-280-0267 or via Twitter DM at @hayskala. Contact using a non-work device.

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