Twitter Sued Over Unpaid Staff Bonuses

Twitter is accused of failing to pay annual bonuses after its acquisition by the world’s richest man, Elon Musk.

The microblogging platform allegedly failed to pay annual bonuses to staff, despite repeated assurances from executives in the lead-up to the acquisition closing that the company would do so, CNN reported.

It is fair to say that Twitter has been engulfed in legal actions since its acquisition by Elon Musk and his chaotic reign at the platform. The last lawsuit, filed last week, sought more than $250m (£197.7m) in damages from Twitter on behalf of 17 music publishers.

Image credit: Pexels

Staff bonuses

Now this week the latest lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Twitter employees by Mark Schobinger, who was a senior director of compensation at Twitter until he left the company late last month.

The lawsuit was filed in a San Francisco federal court on Tuesday and seeks class action status for former and current Twitter employees who did not receive their 2022 bonus.

“We estimate about a couple thousand employees would have been eligible for the bonuses,” Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney representing Schobinger, told CNN in a statement. “While I don’t have an exact number, we expect the amount owed is in the tens of millions.”

The complaint alleges that after it was announced that Musk was acquiring the social media company last April, “many employees raised concerns” over the fate of “their compensation and annual bonus” if and when the deal closed, CNN reported.

In the months leading up to Musk completing his acquisition of Twitter, company executives repeatedly promised staff that 2022 bonuses would be paid out at 50 percent of the target, according to the complaint. “The promise was repeated following Musk’s acquisition,” the complaint alleges.

Despite the promises, however, Twitter has yet to pay out bonuses, the lawsuit alleges.

According to CNN, Schobinger left the company last month following “Twitter’s reneging on various promises it had made to employees, including its failure to pay promised bonuses,” according to the complaint.

It should be noted that attorney Liss-Riordan has previously brought multiple proposed class action suits against Twitter, including on behalf of female employees and disabled employees.

So many lawsuits

Twitter under Elon Musk is no stranger to be sued, with some suppliers alleging legal action was the only way to get paid for outstanding bills.

Last month former janitors at Twitter offices in New York City filed a lawsuit against Twitter over their abrupt termination in December 2022. They were not given the chance to reapply for their role, as per local laws in NY.

In April even Twitter’s former CEO Parag Agrawal and two other former executives sued the company for more than $1 million (£800,000) in outstanding legal bills they allege should have been reimbursed.

Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal. Image credit: Twitter

The three claim Twitter “refused to acknowledge its obligations and to remit payment of any invoices” after they personally incurred “significant expenses” responding to lawsuits and investigations.

This latest lawsuit presents a fresh headache for new CEO Linda Yaccarino, the former head of advertising at media giant NBCUniversal, who became the new boss of the troubled social media firm earlier this month.

At Twitter she is to oversee business operations, with Musk remaining as executive chairman and chief technology officer.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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