Is Elon Musk ignoring employment laws?

Posted Thursday 10th November 2022

As Elon Musk continues to bulldoze his way through the Corporate world, his most recent faux-pas has Employment lawyers baffled and employees asking what their rights are.

Following his $44billion takeover of Twitter last week, Elon Musk has reportedly set sail with plans to remove 3,700 employees from across the company globally. On Friday 4 November employees received emails with the subject line “Your Role at Twitter” confirming whether or not they were being dismissed from their role. Of those selected for dismissal, some have come forward to reveal that they found they had been remotely logged out of the system overnight.


This cut-throat mentality has led to action being brought against the company for its failure to provide adequate notice of termination to staff.

In the UK, the statutory minimum notice periods an employer must provide an employee are as follows:

  • One week for employees with 1 month-2 years’ continuous service
  • One week’s notice for each year of continuous service for employees with continuous service between 2-12 years
  • 12 weeks’ notice for employees with 12 or more years’ continuous service

An employee’s contract of employment may provide for longer notice periods if the company chooses so.

Failure to follow the statutory minimum or adhere to the notice period under the contract of employment is considered a breach of contract and employees may be able to bring claims for wrongful dismissal.

In addition, where there are 20 or more employees from one establishment being dismissed (made redundant) within a 90-day period, employers have a duty to conduct collective consultations with the employees in an attempt to mitigate the impact.

This recent cull follows similar action taken by P&O Ferries in March of this year. P&O removed 800 employees without providing adequate notice and replaced them with agency workers. Like the Twitter employees’ emails, the P&O employees were informed of their fate in a similarly savage vein, via a video recording.

Contractual obligations aside, it is disappointing to see corporations continuing to treat their valued employees with such disregard. There are now calls to the UK Government to put a stop to this action and to protect employee rights, particularly in such financially trying times.

This article is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.

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