Musk Sued Over Refusal to Pay Twitter Employee Bonuses

Several current and former employees are suing over Twitter’s refusal to pay "tens of millions of dollars" in bonuses.

A band of both current and former Twitter employees have filed a lawsuit this week, claiming that they’ve not received their 2022 bonuses, even though they’d been promised 50% of their target figure.

Despite entering a “2.0 era” with new CEO Linda Yaccarino and pressing on with app developments, Twitter is still being plagued by the effects of Elon Musk’s casual and erratic leadership.

Led by the platform’s former Senior Director of Compensation Mark Shobinger, this latest class-action complaint makes reference to the fact that there was no change in the bonus scheme communicated and no reason as to why they haven’t been paid.

What Exactly Is the Complaint?

If anyone knows the ins and outs of Twitter’s bonus schemes it’s Shobinger, as his former role meant he oversaw executive and incentive pay. In November 2022, his responsibilities widened to include global employee compensation.

Twitter’s cash bonus plan is paid out annually and according to former Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal – and other executives – this was to remain the case even during the months leading up to Musk’s acquisition in October 2022. However, that bonus pay never materialized. And in short, there’s no reason why.

“Both before and after Musk’s acquisition was completed in October 2022, Twitter’s management continuously promised the company’s employees, including plaintiff, that their annual bonus for 2022 would be paid under the Bonus Plan.” – current and former Twitter employees

Shobinger quit because of this U-turn on both the bonus pay and a variety of other broken employee promises. According to Shannon Liss-Riordan, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, the bonuses are in the neighborhood of “tens of millions of dollars,” which certainly warrants a lawsuit.

This Isn’t Twitter’s First Legal Rodeo

In what likely comes as a surprise to no one, this latest complaint is just one of many since Musk’s acquisition. Since October 2022, Twitter has been sued for allegedly failing to pay its rent and Google Cloud bills, and by former employees for severance and back pay.

While it’s tricky to ascertain the platform’s stance on this particular lawsuit – thanks to a disbanded PR and media relations department – it’s not hard to guess why things may have ended up this way.

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Having lost more than half its advertising revenue, due to a lack of trust from brands on its content moderation, the platform is perhaps trying to recover some of its losses – even if that means breaching employee contracts.

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Written by:
Ellis Di Cataldo (MA) has over 9 years experience writing about, and for, some of the world’s biggest tech companies. She's been the lead writer across digital campaigns, always-on content and worldwide product launches, for global brands including Sony, Electrolux, Byrd, The Open University and Barclaycard. Her particular areas of interest are business trends, startup stories and product news.
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