According to the opinions of various local labor experts, Twitter Korea Ltd., the Korean office of the American social media giant, will almost certainly be unsuccessful in any potential legal battle it may have against its abruptly laid-off employees under the local labor law if those employees decide to file a class action lawsuit against their employer.
“It does not seem that any steps have been made to address the situation, regardless of whether or not there were pressing management reasons for the layoffs at Twitter Korea. The employer missed an opportunity to communicate with a workers’ union representative when they failed to do so. Shin Jae-jin, a labor law professor at Sogang University, said in reference to the restrictions on dismissal for managerial reasons in the Labor Standards Acts’ Article 24 that there is also a debatable issue with the selection process of the layoff subjects. “There is also a debatable issue with the selection process of the layoff subjects,”
According to Shin, the territorial concept enables a sovereign state to exercise jurisdiction over persons and other legal entities that are located inside its territory. As a result, Korean law governs Twitter Korea, which he explains is the reason why Korean law governs Twitter Korea.
“Therefore, based on what I have observed, I believe that (the workers) would have a strong possibility of winning the legal fight (against Twitter Korea) under Korean law,” he said. “Twitter Korea is a foreign company, and Korean law is not very kind to foreign companies.”
On November 4, a single email was sent out to about half of the social media company’s whole workforce of roughly 7,500 people located all over the globe. This marked the beginning of Twitter’s enormous worldwide layoffs. Following his takeover of Twitter at the end of October, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who is also the wealthiest person in the world, said that the decision to slash the employment of the social media corporation in half was made because the company was losing more than $4 million per day.
According to a person who is aware with the goings-on behind the scenes at the Twitter Korea office, around one quarter of the thirty workers at Twitter Korea were sent the same email. Due to the delicate nature of the matter, the source expressed a desire to maintain their anonymity.
According to the content of an email that was received by The Korea Herald, it said, “Today is your final working day at the firm, nevertheless, you will stay employed by Twitter and will receive income and benefits till your separation date of January 4, 2023.”
Shin emphasized that although an employer in the United States is able to fire an employee for practically any reason as long as they do not violate federal or state laws, a similar issue could be raised in other countries that have laws to protect employees from being fired easily. He pointed out that an employer in the United States is capable of firing an employee for practically any reason as long as they do not violate federal or state laws.
Kwon Young-gook, an attorney who specializes in labor law, pointed out that this case could be considered unfair dismissal if Twitter Korea did not take the necessary steps for the email layoff to be justified as a legitimate job dismissal. Kwon Young-gook pointed out that if Twitter Korea did not take these steps, the case could be considered unfair dismissal.
“The workers who were let go have the option of taking the case to the National Labor Relations Commission and requesting a remedy application for wrongful dismissal from the commission.” Or, as he said, “they might file a lawsuit challenging the legality of the termination.”
A certified public labor attorney who requested to remain anonymous told The Korea Herald that despite the fact that a class action lawsuit brought by laid-off workers of Twitter Korea seemed to have fair prospects of prevailing, the road ahead for them would be a long, difficult, and expensive one.
“Given that Elon Musk is Twitter’s final boss, and considering his personality, the legal battle against Twitter Korea will have to go through the (Seoul) Regional Labor Relations Commission, the National Labor Relations Commission, and all three trials up to the Supreme Court,” said the labor attorney. “Given that Elon Musk is Twitter’s final boss, and considering his personality,” said the labor attorney.
He said that Twitter and Twitter Korea may utilize the tactic of going the distance in the hope that the plaintiffs would grow exhausted and quit the lawsuit even before it reaches a final decision. This is true regardless of how favorable the legal prospects look.
According to the source that was previously cited, the terminated workers have not yet decided whether or not they would pursue legal action collectively. The prior layoff email said that the follow-up information on severance offers and financial resources extending beyond their non-working notice period will be given out within a week, and it was claimed that this information would be sent out. According to the source, as of the beginning of the workday on Thursday, the workers who were affected had not yet gotten the second email.
“(The individuals who have been let off of their jobs) won’t simply be sitting around doing nothing. Why should they do that? Instead, according to Kwon Oh-seong, a law expert at Sookmyung Women’s University, Twitter may attempt to bargain with some “comfort money” so that they may walk out on their own. This would let them to go on their own terms.
Kwon emphasized that according to Korean law, this sort of layoff is “impossible and illegitimate,” and he added that if the workers who were put off filed a lawsuit, they would “definitely win” the case.
Neither the Twitter Korea offices nor the Twitter headquarters in the United States could be contacted for comment about the issue.