A lawsuit alleging that Twitter's mass layoffs, attributed to Elon Musk, led to a disproportionate number of women leaving the company, has been dismissed.
On Monday, Judge Jon Tigar of the US District Court stated that the plaintiffs had not exhausted all options for resolving their complaint through federal agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and that the plaintiffs may amend and refile their complaint.
According to the lawsuit filed in a federal court in San Francisco, Elon Musk's decision to eliminate over half of Twitter's workforce soon after acquiring the company for $44 billion resulted in unfair targeting of female employees due to sex discrimination, reported Bloomberg.
Carolina Bernal Strifling, who worked for Twitter for seven years and lives in Miami, and Willow Wren Turkal of San Jose, California, who worked for the company for less than two years, filed the lawsuit seeking to bring a class action on behalf of women who they claim were unfairly and improperly fired.
Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, who represents the plaintiffs, stated that she plans to file a new complaint that meets the judge's criteria. Liss-Riordan pointed out that Elon Musk, the ultimate decision-maker in the layoffs, has a track record of making derogatory comments about women. She cited one such comment where Musk stated that "it is more important for women to have babies than careers."
According to the opinion, Tigar ruled that the plaintiffs did not allege that Twitter engaged in a "pattern or practice of discrimination." They tried to establish such a pattern by arguing that Musk, not Twitter, implemented a reduction-in-force (RIF) policy that required employees to work more hours and in physical offices instead of remotely.
As per the judge's opinion, RIF and the policy are separate actions that do not establish discrimination as a regular occurrence at Twitter. Even if they did, the statistics presented in the lawsuit and Musk's remarks do not prove that allowing managers to decide who to terminate would lead to discrimination, Tigar added.
The judge stated that the lawsuit contained Elon Musk's derogatory comments towards women and his scepticism about their position in the workplace. However, according to the judge, such comments that are not related to the discriminatory employment decision are typically not enough to prove discriminatory intent.