Disabled workers have filed a lawsuit against Elon Musk’s recent tweet, claiming that his demand for “hardcore labor” made them quit their jobs at Twitter. The class action suit, filed in the San Francisco Federal Court on Wednesday, is being brought on behalf of Dmitry Borodaenko, an engineering manager and cancer survivor who requested to work remotely due to the higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
Since acquiring Twitter in October, Musk has reduced the company’s workforce from 7,500 to just half that number. In a recent email to remaining employees, Musk stated that those who wanted to stay on would have to be “extremely hardcore” and work long hours at high intensity. Those who did not reply affirmatively by Friday evening were to be fired.
According to the lawsuit, many disabled employees felt they could not meet this new standard of performance and productivity due to their disabilities and felt forced to resign. The suit also argues that the sheer volume of layoffs had piled pressure on the remaining employees and that the company’s overwork culture and requirements “do not permit employees who require reasonable accommodation to their disabilities.”
The lawsuit further claims that many disabled employees were fired, including Borodaenko, who had worked at Twitter since June 2021 and sought to work remotely. He has accused the company of violating federal and state discrimination laws.
Musk seemed to soften his stance on remote work in a follow-up email to employees on Thursday, stating that he needed an “excellent contribution” and that staffers should meet in person at least once per month. However, the lawsuit argues that this change came too late for many disabled employees who had already felt forced to resign.
Lawyer Shannon LissRiordan, representing Borodaenko, has also filed additional lawsuits against Twitter for former employees, including complaints about not receiving a severance package and lack of notice before job cuts.