Elon Musk’s X Faces Lawsuit Alleging Age Bias in 2022 Layoffs; Judge Declines Dismissal

In a recent development, a federal judge in California has declined to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) of disproportionately laying off older employees following Elon Musk’s acquisition of the company last year.

Elon Musk's X Faces Lawsuit Alleging Age Bias in 2022 Layoffs; Judge Declines Dismissal

US District Judge Susan Illston ruled on Tuesday that the plaintiff, John Zeman, had presented sufficient evidence to support his claim that the mass layoffs had a more significant impact on older workers. This allows Zeman to continue pursuing the proposed class action.

Zeman alleges that X laid off around 60 percent of workers aged 50 or above and nearly 75 percent of those over 60, in contrast to 54 percent of employees below 50.

Judge Illston’s ruling affirmed that federal law against workplace age bias permits plaintiffs to bring “disparate impact” claims in a class action, a matter that has generated varying interpretations within the legal sphere.

While dismissing a claim that X deliberately targeted older workers for layoffs, the judge granted Zeman a month to amend his lawsuit to further elaborate on this assertion.

Shannon Liss-Riordan, Zeman’s attorney, noted that “this decision affirms the arguments we are presenting, enabling the discrimination claims to move forward.”

X has not provided a comment in response to this development.

The lawsuit is one among several that X is currently facing due to Elon Musk’s decision to reduce Twitter’s workforce by around 50 percent, which commenced in November of the previous year.

These legal cases encompass a range of allegations, including claims that X laid off employees and contractors without complying with mandatory advance notice and that Musk compelled workers with disabilities to exit by rejecting remote work options and urging a more “hardcore” approach.

Additionally, at least two lawsuits contend that the company owes former employees a collective sum of at least $500 million in severance pay. Twitter has denied any wrongdoing in connection to these cases.

Shannon Liss-Riordan also represents roughly 2,000 former Twitter employees who have initiated similar legal proceedings against the company through arbitration channels.

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