Judge Dismisses Lawsuit That Claimed Twitter Targeted Women in Layoffs


A federal judge slapped down a discrimination lawsuit against Twitter filed by former employees who said owner Elon Musk specifically targeted women for his mass layoffs.

At the tail end of last year, close to 100 female former Tweeps sued the company in a proposed class action claiming the company discriminated against them based on their gender. The suit said owner Musk was already known for his “sexist, demeaning, and hostile comments” against women. The women alleged Twitter primarily targeted them for layoffs hitting more than half the company, and that the social media app failed to pay out promised severance.

On Monday, Federal Judge Jon Tigar of the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the women did not go to the proper federal and state civil rights agencies first. The women are allowed to amend and refile their lawsuit.

In addition, Tigar said the plaintiffs and their attorney failed to show in their suit whether similarly situated men were kept at the company and failed to show a systemwide pattern of gender discrimination with the firings.

In January, Twitter and its attorneys issued a motion to dismiss the case, claiming the fired Twitter workers did not exhaust all means of remedying with the company. The company complained that the women only filed charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the California Civil Rights Department after they slapped Twitter with the lawsuit, though the women argued they filed both nearly concurrently.

The womens’ attorney, the Boston, Massachusetts-based Shannon Liss-Riordan, told Gizmodo via email “We are reviewing the order and will amend the complaint, as the court invited. As we explained in the complaint, the evidence already shows that women were significantly statistically more likely to be laid off from Twitter than men.” The lawyer also mentioned Musk’s recent bullheaded leadership at Twitter, such as his recent move to paint over the “w” on the sign above Twitter’s headquarters.

“It is not hard to make the connection as to why the managers acting closely under his supervision laid off more of the women at Twitter, particularly female engineers, than men,” she wrote.

Gizmodo reached out to Twitter’s much larger team of lawyers from the California-based firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, but we did not hear back before press time.

Musk has shared some awkward-at-best opinions about women and their place in the world. Last year, he tweeted “Being a mom is just as important as any career.” While it’s more than fair to say no women should be demeaned for their decision to have children, he didn’t seem to imply the same thing for being a father. Musk is an avid proponent of “longtermerism” a widely-held belief among Silicon Valley elite in the importance of acting now with all their billions to shape the future for the vague benefit of humanity (or more so, for their continued elite status). This is why Musk has talked openly about the need for “more babies” fearing an ill-defined and unscientific fear of population collapse.

Twitter and Musk are facing a host of other lawsuits alleging he improperly fired staff. Though it’s been just half a year since Musk took over the platform, the blue bird app now faces a dizzying number of legal battles from former Twitter executives and even from the landlords of Twitter office spaces, who allege the billionaire decided to stop paying rent on his properties.

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