Elon Musk accused of discriminating against African employees at Twitter over severance pay


Laid-off employees at Twitter’s African headquarters have accused Twitter of “willfully and recklessly flouting Ghanaian law” and trying to “repress and intimidate” them after they were fired.

The team has hired a lawyer and sent a letter to the company requesting Comply with the labor laws of the West African country and provide them with additional severance and other related benefits in line with what other Twitter employees will receive.

They also asked the Ghanaian government to force Twitter to “comply with Ghanaian laws on layoffs and provide employees with fair and equitable negotiated and retrenchment pay,” according to a letter to the country’s chief labor officer obtained by CNN.

“It is clear that Twitter, Inc., under the leadership of Mr. Elon Musk, has either willfully or recklessly flouted the laws of Ghana and is poorly run by attempting to coerce and intimidate former employees into accepting unilateral claims made against them. any terms,” ​​the letter read.

Twitter fired all but one African employee just four days after opening a physical office in the capital, Accra, after Musk took over the company. However, according to their employment contracts, about a dozen employees did not receive severance pay, which they said was a requirement under Ghanaian labor law. They also claimed that, unlike employees in the U.S. and Europe, they were not informed of the next steps until a day after CNN reported their case.

CNN reached out to Twitter for comment but did not hear back.

In a letter to Twitter Ghana Ltd obtained by CNN, African employees rejected Twitter’s “Ghana mutual separation agreement,” which they said was sent to their personal emails, offering final pay The company claims it was negotiated.

Several members of the team and their attorneys told CNN there were no talks on severance packages. They claim this is below legal requirements and contradicts what Musk has said on Twitter that departing employees will receive.

“Everyone who quit got 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required,” Musk tweeted. Twitter notified Ghanaian employees in early November that they would be on the job. Last day – to collect wages by December 4th. They will continue to receive full wages and benefits during the 30-day notice period.

“Very vague, no talk about vacation or paid time off, just let us agree and sign. I never bothered to review the document because it’s rubbish and still violates labor laws here,” said a person who asked not to be named The former employee told CNN.

The Accra-based team accused Twitter of being dishonest, not transparent in its dealings with them and discriminating against laid-off workers in other jurisdictions.

“Employees are distressed, humiliated and intimidated by this incident. There are non-Ghanaian employees, some with young families, who moved here for work and are now being left unceremoniously in distress, not ready to be repatriated fees, and were unable to communicate with Twitter, Inc. to discuss or defend their case,” The notice to the Chief Labor Officer of Ghana said.

Their lawyer, Carla Olympio, said the sudden dismissal of almost the entire team violated Ghanaian employment law because it was considered a “retrenchment” that required three months’ notice to the authorities and negotiations over retrenchment pay.

“In stark contrast to the internal reassurances the pre-acquisition company provided to Twitter employees around the world, there appears to be little attempt to comply with Ghana’s labor laws, and when the company is restructured or restructured,” she wrote in a statement to CNN. .

In an appeal to Ghana’s chief labor officer, the employees said Twitter’s official entry into the continent began with “great fanfare and government support”. They now want the same attention paid to their plight.

They demanded 3 months’ gross salary as severance pay, repatriation of non-Ghanaian employees, vesting of contractually stipulated stock options, and other benefits such as medical continuation provided to global employees.

CNN has contacted Ghana’s Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations for comment.

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