Elon Musk Begins Layoffs at Twitter

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“There is nothing visionary or innovative about summarily firing” workers by email, he said, especially people who have “specialized expertise and deep institutional knowledge” and before Mr. Musk “even seems to have a basic grasp of the business.”

While federal and California laws require companies to provide advance notice of mass layoffs, it was not clear whether Mr. Musk had done so. A spokesman for California’s Employment Development Department said on Thursday evening that it had received no such notices from Twitter, which is based in San Francisco and is expected to report mass layoffs to the agency.

Under the terms of his deal to acquire Twitter, Mr. Musk agreed to keep employee compensation and benefits the same for one year. Twitter workers are typically paid at least two months’ salary and the cash value of equity they were scheduled to receive within three months of a layoff date, according to an internal benefits summary seen by The Times.

Rumors of impending layoffs had been swirling at the company. On Wednesday, employees took note of a Slack message that suggested 3,738 people could be laid off. The message noted that changes could still be made to the list, according to a copy seen by The Times.

On Wednesday evening, some employees circulated a “Layoff Guide” with tips on corporate surveillance and employment rights. One worker created software to help colleagues download important emails and documents. He was later fired, he said.

On Thursday, workers got other signals that their workplace was changing. Twitter’s “Days of Rest,” which are monthly days off so employees can rest and recharge, were removed from their calendars, two people with knowledge of the matter said. Some workers also noticed that the employee directory had been taken offline, according to internal chats seen by The Times.

“Has the red wedding started?” one employee wrote on Slack, a reference to a massacre scene in “Game of Thrones.” Nine minutes later, the company sent the email informing workers of the layoffs. Employees who will keep their jobs would receive a message saying so on their corporate accounts, the message said, while employees being laid off would be notified on their personal accounts.