Twitter sued over Elon Musk’s “hardcore” work rules

Twitter owner Elon Musk’s mandate that employees stop teleworking and work “long, high-intensity hours” discriminates against workers with disabilities, a new lawsuit says.

Mitry Borodaenko, a California-based tech executive who said Twitter fired him this week when he refused to report to the office, filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the company in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Mr Borodaenko said Musk’s recent call for Twitter employees to return to the office or resign violates the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities.

Mr Borodaenko has a disability which the complaint says makes him vulnerable to Covid-19.

The lawsuit says many Twitter employees with disabilities were forced to quit because they were unable to meet Mr Musk’s exacting performance and productivity standards.

In a separate lawsuit filed in the same court on Wednesday, Twitter was accused of laying off thousands of contract workers without serving the 60-day notice period required by federal law.

Twitter is already facing a planned class action lawsuit, also in federal court in San Francisco, alleging it violated that law by abruptly laying off about 3,700 employees, or half the company’s workforce, after it was acquired by Mr. Musk.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr Musk has said laid-off workers were offered three months’ severance pay.

Under federal law, employers can give employees severance pay for 60 days in lieu of termination.

Shannon Liss-Riordan, an attorney for the plaintiffs in all three pending cases, said that since Mr Musk took over Twitter “has brought the company’s employees through a great deal of pain and uncertainty in such a short time”.

There is little legal precedent as to when remote work qualifies as reasonable accommodation under the ADA, and the question ultimately revolves around the facts of the individual case. Because of this, it can be difficult to assert disability claims in a class action lawsuit.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces the ADA, said in guidance released in 2020 that remote work may be a reasonable accommodation if it would not place an undue burden on an employer.

Mr Musk said on Wednesday he expects to reduce his time at Twitter and eventually find a new head to run the social media company, adding he hopes to complete an organizational restructuring this week.

Mr Musk made the remarks while testifying in a Delaware court to defend himself against claims that his $56 billion salary package

However, Mr Musk later said in a tweet that he would continue to operate Twitter until it is in a strong place, although it will “take some time”.

Mr Musk’s tweet came after former CEO Jack Dorsey said he would not take on the role of Twitter CEO. In a response to a Twitter user asking if he would take the CEO position, he said “no.” Twitter sued over Elon Musk’s “hardcore” work rules

Fry Electronics Team

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