Twitter’s Canadian office and employees have not been immune to the mass layoffs taking place at the company this week.
The cuts hit the top levels of the Canadian team, with managing director Paul Burns tweeting Friday morning that he is no longer with Twitter.
Multiple social media posts from employees point to the same fate, including Michele Austin, who served as Twitter’s director of public policy for Canada and the United States.
“Woke up to the news that my time working at Twitter has come to an end,” Austin said. “I am heartbroken. I am in denial.”
“Extremely messed up!”
– Elon Musk
The total number of Canadian employees affected is unknown at this time. BetaKit reached out to Twitter Canada’s head of communications for comment but did not heard back by time of publication. It was subsequently confirmed that comms lead Cam Gordon was also let go.
Burns had served as managing director of Twitter Canada for more than four years. Twitter used its Canadian team and office as a launchpad for new products, such as Twitter Blue and the long-form content feature Notes. As of one year ago, Twitter had around 180 employees scattered across the country, with plans at the time to increase that presence.
It’s been a wild last 4.5 years. To the people, friends, partners, and tweeps that make this place so special. Thank you for all the adventures. Love you all so much 💙💙💙#LoveWhereYouWorked
— Paul Burns (@paulburns) November 4, 2022
The mass layoffs at the company reportedly began late Thursday, and it is expected that new owner Elon Musk will cut roughly half of Twitter’s 7,500-person workforce just one week after he bought the company.
Before the layoffs began, Twitter temporarily closed its offices, and workers were promptly locked out of internal systems in anticipation of mass cuts on Friday.
Legal action has already been taken against Twitter for the decision. A class action lawsuit alleges that workers were not given enough notice of their firing in accordance with both the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) and California WARN Act, which require that companies give employees at least 60 days of advance notice before a mass firing.
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Employees laid off in violation of the WARN Act could receive back pay at either their final pay rate or three-year average of compensation, whichever is higher. Twitter would also be liable for any medical expenses that normally covered under an employee benefit plan.
Under Musk’s leadership, the company is looking to revamp its Twitter Blue product, which could require users to pay to be verified on the platform. Notably, the new system would not require subscribers to verify their identity to get the check mark, according to documents viewed by The New York Times. Crucially, the changes to Twitter’s verification status could come as early as November 7, one day before the U.S. midterm elections.
Shortly after the layoffs had taken place, Musk could be found on Twitter attributing a massive drop in revenue to “activist groups pressuring advertisers.”
“Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America,” the Chief Twit said.