Twitter’s Layoffs Allegedly Discriminated Against Women

Allen Smith, J.D. By Allen Smith, J.D. December 12, 2022

​Twitter is being sued for allegedly targeting women during its recent layoffs—the latest claim filed protesting how the layoffs were handled. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other media outlets.

Layoffs Challenged Based on Gender

Soon after Elon Musk bought Twitter, the company laid off about 3,700 employees—roughly half its workforce—and hundreds more then resigned. The new lawsuit said that Twitter laid off 57 percent of its female employees, compared with 47 percent of men. The gender disparity was greater for engineering roles, where 63 percent of women lost their jobs, compared to 48 percent of men, according to the lawsuit.

"It's not a huge surprise, unfortunately, that women were hit so hard by these layoffs when Elon Musk was overseeing these incredibly ad hoc layoffs just in a matter of days," said Shannon Liss-Riordan, the plaintiffs' lawyer, who is in Boston.

Twitter has denied wrongdoing in a lawsuit involving the alleged failure to provide advance notice and hasn't responded to other complaints.

(The Guardian)

Other Complaints

Other complaints against Twitter claim it backed out of promises to allow remote work and provide consistent severance benefits after Musk bought the company, as well as complaints related to alleged disability- and gender-based discrimination and another lawsuit on behalf of Twitter contractors who were laid off. At least one employee claimed that Twitter did not provide enough notice of the layoffs, allegedly violating federal and California laws, and did not offer additional pay in lieu of notice. Three claims also have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of former employees.

Twitter, which recently laid off much of its communications department, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuits.


Layoffs Snowball

Twitter isn't the only company that has laid off workers. The technology sector has been particularly hard hit, with thousands laid off, including from Meta and Stripe. Sales and recruiting jobs have sustained some of the deepest cuts. In addition, layoffs have spread beyond technology, such as to the Walt Disney Co.

(SHRM Online and Fast Company)

Layoffs Are Harming DE&I Efforts

Recent layoffs, particularly in the tech sector, have eroded diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts nationwide. The tech industry already is one of the least diverse. In 2021, just 4.4 percent of employees at Google were Black and 6.4 percent were Latino, according to the company's diversity report. At Meta, people with disabilities represented about 6 percent of the company's workforce, despite accounting for 19 percent of the U.S. labor force.

(SHRM Online)

How to Conduct Layoffs the Right Way

In addition to abiding by employment laws regarding layoffs, communication and accurate information are two of the most essential elements to conducting layoffs well. It's important to ensure everyone is aware of what's happening and what their options are.

"Folks impacted by job loss have so many questions, are often fraught with fear and trepidation of what's next, and they need and deserve support," said Barbie Winterbottom, CHRO, founder and CEO of the Business of HR in Tampa, Fla. "At the same time, HR teams can be overwhelmed with phone calls and e-mails from hundreds or thousands of employees while trying to process required documents and manage required steps in systems. It can make timely communication tough."

(SHRM Online)



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