- After a two-month wait, laid-off Twitter employees received severance agreements from Elon Musk.
- The process to access the agreements was so strange that many workers fear a phishing attempt.
- Although the agreements are said to be legitimate, some affected workers say they will not sign.
Hundreds of Twitter employees who were part of Elon Musk’s first round of layoffs have just received severance papers after a two-month wait. Now they must decide whether to sign or join a lawsuit against the company and its billionaire owner.
In the morning hours on Saturday, the former Twitter employees who were laid off on November 4 received a message from “[email protected]”, an email that is not linked to any internal department of the company, said several people familiar with the situation to Insider.
The email was marked as “spam” by most people who received it. After digging it out of spam folders, the message directed people to a website run 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 success going forward, and your employment has been affected,” the website said. “Since we notified you of your status, you have been on layoff, employed and on pay, and this will continue until your separation date. You are also entitled to receive additional severance pay if you sign a separation agreement and release.”
‘Imagine waiting this long and then getting this’
Even before laid-off workers received their contracts, many debated whether to sign away their rights in exchange for a month’s severance pay. In comparison, laid-off employees at Facebook received six months’ severance pay when the company adopted mass redundancies in November. Snap offered its workers four months of severance at the end of August.
A person who received an agreement said they had decided not to sign and would instead participate in one of several lawsuits already filed or in the work related to Musk’s alleged violations of the merger agreement regarding employee benefits and severance pay. Many other affected employees have already signed up to take part in legal action. The person noted that if the agreements had come earlier, they and other people might have been more inclined to sign.
“Imagine waiting this long and then getting this,” the person said. That person, and others who spoke to Insider, asked not to be identified to discuss private matters. A representative for Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
“This is sketchy AF”
Everything from the spacing of the email’s text to its redirection to a website no one was familiar with put former employees on guard. “This is sketchy AF,” one person wrote in one message. Another person noted that the long wait for severance paperwork has left many people “prime targets” for phishing attempts.
Still, two people familiar with Twitter’s actions said the site is legitimate and noted that this will be the way any severance or separation agreements will be distributed by Twitter. The site also uses Twitter’s official blue and white bird logo, and the official separation agreements are said to feature Musk’s signature.
Workers who were either laid off or terminated around Nov. 4 expect to receive separation agreements, two people familiar with the company said. However, those who resigned a few weeks later over Musk’s “hardcore Twitter 2.0” email have not received an agreement to sign so far, the sources said.
As for the separation agreements, they seem to be mostly boring, offering one month’s salary to laid-off employees as severance pay. November 4, Musk tweeted that “everyone walked out” was offered 3 months severance pay, saying it was 50% more than required by law. The tech billionaire may have mixed up periods of “non-working” employment that later saw thousands of workers continue to be paid since November while they waited for severance pay. State labor laws require companies to provide certain notice periods for mass layoffs.
To receive the one month of additional pay, laid-off workers must sign the contract being offered, which prohibits them from participating in a lawsuit against the company, or speaking publicly or to the press about Twitter. Such clauses are typical for severance agreements.
Are you a tech employee or someone else with insights to share? Contact Kali Hays at [email protected], on secure messaging Signal at 949-280-0267, or via Twitter DM at @hayskali. Reach out with a device that doesn’t work.