According to The Daily Beats, earlier this year, as Elon Musk looked likely to lose his court battle and be forced to buy Twitter, Justine De Caires began to panic.
Like others, Justine De Caires, a Twitter software engineer for three and a half years, predicted that Elon Musk’s acquisition would be accompanied by massive layoffs. Unlike many, the 25-year-old closely followed the legal battle between the billionaire and the social media company and read every page of the merger agreement.
Twitter high-ups promised to stick to a generous severance package in the event of a Elon Musk acquisition, Justine De Caires says. But the engineer was skeptical, and started looking for labor rights lawyers with a history of working with powerful tech companies. The first email was to Shannon Liss-Riordan, the Massachusetts attorney who filed a lawsuit against Tesla months earlier.
Mass layoffs at Twitter in November — a proverbial Red Wedding that cut staff in half — proved fertile ground for lawsuits. But Liss-Riordan, a labor rights veteran once dubbed “Sledgehammer Shannon,” was perhaps the country’s best-equipped lawyer to handle the case.
Outspoken Liss-Riordan, a 53-year-old Boston transplant, has sued tech companies ranging from Uber to DoorDash and won judgments of up to $100 million on behalf of her employees. She also attracted her share of critics: Opponents of her unsuccessful bid for Massachusetts attorney general pointed to the millions she earned from her signature class-action suit, suggesting she was more interested in money than the movement.
Lawyers have filed four lawsuits on behalf of the fired Twitter employees, alleging violations ranging from disability discrimination to Title VII violations. He says his plan is to trick the multibillionaire into believing that paying off the sacked employees will be easier than fighting them all in court.
He told The Daily Beast, “I find it really worrying when the richest man in the world, well, now the richest man in the world thinks he can do whatever he wants and is above the law.” There needs to be a real deterrent to make sure corporations [and] employers protect the rights of their employees and don’t think they can get away with it,” she said. It’s a traffic ticket for the world’s richest man.