Twitter Headquarters in San Francisco

A group of former janitors at Twitter’s New York City offices has filed a lawsuit against the social media company. They claim that their abrupt termination in December 2022, following Elon Musk’s takeover of the company and subsequent staff cuts, violated the Displaced Building Service Workers Protection Act. The lawsuit alleges that Twitter failed to retain the janitors after terminating their contract, hiring a new contractor, and not offering continued employment as required under the previous contract.

According to the Displaced Building Service Workers Protection Act in New York City, new building owners, managers, contractors, and commercial lessees must retain employees for a 90-day transition period and provide continued employment if their performance is deemed satisfactory. Inspired by the firings of janitors at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco in December 2022, San Francisco passed similar legislation in April 2023.

The lawsuit argues that the workers are owed “hundreds of thousands of dollars in back wages” due to the violation of the law. The union representing the workers, SEIU 32BJ, notified Twitter of its obligation to retain the employees for a minimum of 90 days in December 2022, but allegedly received no response from the company.

Hugh Baran, an attorney at Kakalec Law PLLC representing the workers, stated that the workers have faced significant financial hardship due to their unemployment. Despite being aware of the violations and having ample time to rectify the situation, Twitter has reportedly refused to comply with the law. Baran commended the workers for taking legal action to enforce their rights.

When a new contractor, NeXgen Facilities Group, was retained by Twitter in February 2023, the union also informed the contractor of the obligation to retain the employees from the previous contract for a minimum of 90 days. However, this notification was allegedly ignored as well.

The terminated janitors protested their sudden firings without warning in January 2023. They expressed shock and distress at losing their jobs just before the Christmas holidays, leaving them without income and worried about meeting essential needs such as food, expenses, and health insurance. Many of the workers had been employed by Twitter since 2015 and had previously retained their jobs during contractor switches.

One janitor, Laureta, shared her experience in an interview with The Guardian in January 2023, expressing the emotional impact of the situation on her and her family. The sudden terminations left them in a difficult and uncertain situation.

Twitter has faced multiple lawsuits following Elon Musk’s takeover, including legal actions by former employees, vendors, and shareholders.

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