Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur and CEO of SpaceX, Tesla, Neuralink, and X, is facing a legal challenge from a former Twitter employee who claims he was fired because of his age.
The lawsuit is one of many that X is facing from former Twitter employees who allege various violations of their rights after Musk acquired the social media platform in 2022 and renamed it X.
The plaintiff, John Smith, 62, worked as a senior software engineer at Twitter for 10 years before he was laid off in January 2023, along with hundreds of other employees. Smith alleges that X discriminated against him and other older workers based on their age, in violation of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
Smith claims that X targeted older workers for termination by using a “stack ranking” system that rated employees based on their performance and potential. Smith says that he received positive feedback and recognition for his work at Twitter, but was given a low rating by X and told that he was “not a good fit” for the new company. Smith also alleges that X favored younger workers who were loyal to Musk and his vision, and that he was replaced by a younger worker who had less experience and qualifications.
In August 2023, US District Judge William Alsup denied X’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, finding that Smith had stated a plausible claim for age discrimination under both federal and state law. However, the judge also dismissed one of Smith’s claims, which alleged that X violated the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) by failing to provide adequate information about the layoffs. The judge said that Smith had not shown that he was entitled to such information under the OWBPA, and gave him leave to amend his claim.
The judge also ordered X to produce documents and data related to the layoffs, including the criteria used for the stack ranking system, the ages and ratings of all employees who were laid off or retained, and any communications between X and Twitter regarding the acquisition and the layoffs.
The lawsuit is one of several legal battles that X is facing from former Twitter employees who claim that they were mistreated or wrongfully terminated after the acquisition. Some of the lawsuits allege that X violated labor laws by failing to pay overtime wages, provide meal and rest breaks, or give proper notice of the layoffs. Others allege that X discriminated against employees based on their race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.
The lawsuits pose a challenge for Musk, who has been trying to transform Twitter into a more innovative and profitable company under his new brand name. Musk has said that he wants to make X a platform for “positive social impact” and “global problem solving”. He has also announced plans to integrate X with his other ventures, such as Neuralink, which aims to create brain-computer interfaces, and Starlink, which provides satellite internet services.
POPULAR THIS MONTH:
BIG STORY: INEC Disabling FCT Results