Former Twitter Employees Launch a Class-action Complaint Alleging That the Corporation Targeted Women in Layoffs
Two female former Twitter employees have launched a class-action lawsuit against the firm, claiming that layoffs after Elon Musk’s takeover disproportionately targeted women.
Carolina Strifling and Willow Turkal filed their complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on Wednesday on behalf of themselves and other female employees who have been laid off in the “chaotic weeks” since Musk took control of Twitter at the end of October.
Musk moved quickly after completing his purchase of Twitter to lay off half of its workforce, or approximately 3,700 employees, in order to slash costs.
“The mass firing of employees at Twitter has hurt female employees far more than male employees – and to a very statistically significant level,” the two women wrote in their complaint.
Strifling is from Miami, Fla., and has been with Twitter since June 2015. Turkal is from San Jose, Calif., and has been with the company since June 2021. They were both laid off last month.
The plaintiffs claim that the decision to lay off employees was taken under “very rushed conditions,” with little consideration for employees’ job performance, skills, experience, and talents.
They said that the decisions were made by a small number of managers working under Musk’s supervision, with some of the managers coming from outside firms owned by Musk, such as Tesla. According to Strifling and Turkal, 1,271 female employees and 1,350 male employees were laid off, accounting for 57% of all female employees and 47% of all male employees.
They cited a Rutgers University economics expert who stated that the gender distribution was more than seven standard deviations out of a normal distribution, implying that the disparity is unlikely to be due to random chance.
They also claimed that Musk’s comments about prioritizing employees in engineering-related areas could not account for the gap. According to them, 63 percent of female employees in these roles were laid off, but just 48 percent of male employees in the same roles were.
Strifling and Turkal also cited comments made by Musk that they claim demonstrate discrimination towards women. They brought up statements he’d made regarding women’s breasts and how “testosterone rocks.”
They claim that Twitter’s activities violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act’s anti-discrimination provisions.