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Musk wins legal battle to force laid-off Twitter employees into arbitration

Only ex-employees who opted out of arbitration agreements can join class action.

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Enlarge (credit: ANGELA WEISS / Contributor | AFP)

The weekend delivered some disappointing news for laid-off Twitter employees who launched a class-action lawsuit in November against the social media platform immediately after CEO Elon Musk kicked off the first round of layoffs at the company. On Friday, a US district judge ruled that five plaintiffs who proposed the class action would instead have to enter individual arbitration to pursue their claims that Twitter violated employment laws.

This doesn’t mean the class-action lawsuit has completely fallen apart, though. US District Judge James Donato wrote in his order that while these five employees waived their right to sue by signing optional arbitration agreements under Twitter’s prior owner, three other plaintiffs later added to the lawsuit said they opted out. Those employees still have the right to pursue the proposed class action, which alleges sex and disability discrimination during layoffs and argues that Twitter still owes proper severance payments and lost wages.

“After Twitter filed its motion, plaintiffs amended their complaint to add three named plaintiffs who say that they opted out of Twitter’s arbitration agreement,” Donato wrote.

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