Disabled Twitter employee is suing after Musk’s remote work change

  • A former Twitter employee with a disability has filed a class action lawsuit against the company.
  • The ex-employee claimed that Elon Musk’s turnaround in the company’s remote work policy was discriminatory.
  • In the lawsuit, he also alleged that promises made when Musk bought Twitter were not kept.

An engineer is suing Twitter over a U-turn in remote work initiated by Elon Musk in one of his first moves after buying the embattled company.

Dmitry Borodaenko, the plaintiff who filed Wednesday’s class action lawsuit in a federal court in San Francisco, said in the complaint that his disability prevents him from working in an office. He claimed the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Fair Housing and Employment Act after being promised he could continue to work remotely while Musk wanted to buy the company.

After buying Musk, he reduced the company’s workforce from about 7,500 employees to 3,000 employees as of Thursday. Employees who have stayed have reported working more than 80 hours a week and sleeping in the office. Musk has encouraged employees to be “extremely hardcore” going forward.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Musk did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

“One of the promises was that employees would be able to continue working remotely for at least a year after Musk acquired the company,” lawyers wrote in the suit. “This promise has been repeatedly made to employees by managers, the CEO and other personnel.”

But after Musk bought Twitter in late October, Borodaenko claimed the pledge was changed and he was wrongly fired soon after.

“Let me be crystal clear: If people don’t return to the office when they can return to the office, they can’t stay with the company,” Musk said at a meeting on Nov. 10, according to ABC News. On Thursday, Musk appeared to be amending the remote work change, saying that employees can still get permission from their managers to work remotely if they do “exceptional work” in their manager’s eyes, according to The Washington Post.

Borodaenko, formerly an Engineering Manager for the company, said he had been working there remotely since June 2021. According to the lawsuit, following Elon’s comments on November 10, he wrote a letter to his manager seeking guidance.

“In case I haven’t mentioned it before, if [a] cancer survivor I’m at extra risk due to Covid (it also counts as a disability) so I’m definitely not working from [the] office until the pandemic is over,” Borodaenko wrote of slack, according to the lawsuit.

In addition, Borodaenko claimed in the lawsuit that he was not provided with information on how to apply for an accommodation exception. And days after Musk’s request to work remotely, on Nov. 15, he said he received a chilling email from Twitter Human Resources.

“Hello, we regret to inform you that your employment has been terminated effective immediately. Your recent conduct violates company policy,” the notice read, according to the lawsuit.

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