Musk Tells Twitter Staff in Email to Accept ‘Hardcore’ Culture or Leave
For Twitter to succeed, “we will need to be extremely hardcore,” Musk said in the email.
(Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk sent an email to Twitter Inc. employees requiring them to pledge to stay with the company, working long hours at “high intensity” during its transformation, or to accept a buyout.
Staff will have to complete the online form by 5 p.m. New York time on Thursday or accept three months severance. For Twitter to succeed, “we will need to be extremely hardcore,” Musk said in the email, which was seen by Bloomberg.
“Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade,” the email said.
A representative for Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The Washington Post reported the memo earlier.
The form Musk wanted employees to complete contained a single question: “Would you like to stay at Twitter?”
“Yes” was the only option to click, before “Submit.” That left workers with a lot of questions about the nature of the agreement. Many of them reached out to lawyers for advice on how to respond, according to people familiar with the matter.
“It’s certainly wrong that he’s requiring them to sign this document because it might give them the appearance that this commitment could waive or override other rights that they might have,” said Peter Romer-Friedman, who heads the civil rights and class actions practice at the law firm Gupta Wessler PLLC. If an employee needed accommodation for a disability or needed go on medical leave, “you can’t fire them for that. And to me, it seems like that’s what he is promising to do, or at least threatening to do, without addressing those specific situations.”
Read More: Musk Steps Up Purge of Twitter Engineers Who Criticize Him
Musk said in the note that Twitter will be more dominated by engineers going forward, making up the majority of remaining employees and having the greatest influence at the company, which he called a “software and servers company” at its heart. Design and product management functions will “still be very important and report to me,” he said.
The billionaire announced plans to fire about 3,700 people in his first week in control of the company. The cuts, which included most of Twitter’s senior management, have upset many of the remaining employees. Musk’s changes have also led to a lack of communication internally and concerns about product breakdowns and technical outages, according to current and former staffers.
Since then, Musk has continued to purge employees who have criticized him, sometimes via Twitter. Musk testified Wednesday in Delaware that the lion’s share of his time “for the past few weeks” has been at the social-media platform, though he said the “fundamental organizational restructuring” will be completed by the end of next week.
Read More: Musk Warns Twitter Bankruptcy Possible If Cash Burn Lingers
Musk has warned since his $44 billion acquisition last month that Twitter could face bankruptcy if it doesn’t start generating more cash. He has told employees they can expect to work 80-hour weeks and fewer office perks like free food, and ended the company’s work-from-home policy with a few exceptions.
The reference to long hours could potentially run afoul of labor laws, said Lisa Bloom, owner of the Bloom Firm in Calabasas, California, who is representing a group of Twitter employees laid off since Musk took over.
“I have already heard from a female manager at Twitter who said, ‘I’ve been at the company for many years. I love my job. I also love my two children. I shouldn’t have to chose between my job and seeing my children at night and on weekends,’” Bloom said. “These are peoples’ lives, and livelihoods and families who are affected by this.”
--With assistance from , and .
(Updates with labor lawyers throughout)
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