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Twitter has promised them to be fired. They have nothing

As weeks of waiting turn into months, former staffers in the US are filing arbitration suits, while some in the UK are trying to negotiate terms. In other countries where Twitter has fired staff, people haven’t heard a thing.

Soon after the announcement of the layoffs, Twitter was forced to backtrack and keep some staff on the payroll longer. California employees were being hired, though not working, through Jan. 4 to avoid conflicting with the state’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN. In New York, former staff members will be hired for an additional month in accordance with state laws. But as these deadlines passed, Twitter’s silence became deafening.

Seven former Twitter employees who spoke to WIRED said they received no information about their firings, despite some nearing or past their last day at the company. Last month, a handful of former employees announced that they would file arbitration suits against the company, claiming it had violated the WARN Act and that its handling of layoffs was a breach of contract.

A former employee, who was fired in November, is awaiting legal proceedings to see if he will be granted severance, and he’s not sure if it will be. Another, who was fired in early November, has not heard from the company.

A third have yet to receive any details on the settlement, although they have been digging Twitter for information since being fired in November. He was promised at least twice before they would receive their package details, and each time the promised deadline passed without any information.

A former employee in the UK says they too have not received word of the settlement but are currently discussing terms with the company on behalf of the approximately 300 employees based in the country.

A former employee of Twitter’s Accra, Ghana office, which was open for less than a week before the entire staff was fired, says that “like other employees globally, they have been secured but have not still had news”. The former employee says he is not sure what recourse, if any, he might have against the company in Ghana.

Twitter, however, is providing separation for some. A former contractor says his boss received settlement details on Jan. 5. As for the contractor, he got a box of chocolates from the agency that got him the Twitter job. All former Twitter staffers contacted about this story have been granted anonymity because speaking to the media could affect their severance pay.

While some chose to wait for their official employee status to expire on January 4, others chose to take preemptive legal action against the company.

Helen-Sage Lee, one of the former Twitter employees who filed an arbitration lawsuit against the company in December, says that while she’s disappointed, she’s not surprised that the former employees are now in limbo over their promised layoffs.

“That’s partly why I wanted to go ahead and drop my case,” she says. “I thought the longer it would take legally, procedurally, to give us a severance package, and the more delays there would be, the chances of getting a severance package would get smaller and smaller by the day.”

Lee says none of the former US-based employees he’s in contact with have received any communication from Twitter about their severance packages.

Lisa Bloom, an attorney who represents Lee as well as other former employees they lead arbitration cases against the company, says it has received requests for information from dozens of fired Twitter employees in recent days. Shannon Liss-Reardon, a Boston-based attorney who also represents former employees, said Bloomberg that his team had filed 100 new requests for arbitration on Jan. 5.

“It was very concerning,” Lee says. “I think many of us expected severance deals. So now many of us are left hanging. I won’t believe there is a separation until I am able to see it.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment at the time of posting. Twitter’s communications and public relations staff were among those laid off following the Musk takeover.