Africa-Based Former X Employees Consider Legal Action Over Unpaid Severance

X Employees

Former employees of X (previously Twitter) in Africa are considering legal action against the company, alleging unpaid severance promised to them. These employees, laid off last November after a brief tenure, have voiced their struggles and the impact of the layoffs on their financial and mental well-being to the BBC.

X, under the leadership of Elon Musk who initiated a sweeping global reduction of its workforce—effecting over 6,000 layoffs due to reported daily losses of over $4 million—has not responded to inquiries regarding this issue. Musk’s acquisition led to significant downsizing, impacting less than 20 employees in X’s Accra, Ghana office shortly after their transition from remote work due to COVID-19.

The affected staff expressed that initial assurances of additional one-month pay were immediately nullified as they were locked out of their email accounts with no further salary disbursed. Since then, they have described a year-long, inconsistent struggle with the company for their rightful compensation.

Legal representative Agency Seven Seven highlighted the difficulty in securing severance, noting missed deadlines by X and a lack of communication that undermines the purpose of redundancy packages. Despite an agreement for settlement reached in September, with a deadline for completion by October 5, negotiations have stalled.

Some employees, having moved to Ghana from neighboring countries like Nigeria for the job, found themselves and their families stranded due to the sudden terminations.

Past attempts by the BBC to contact X for comments were met with dismissive responses, including a reply with a smiling poo emoji, a practice previously indicated by Musk for press office emails.

With the company now significantly reduced in size, Musk’s earlier statement of providing three months’ severance to laid-off employees did not align with the experiences of those from the Africa office, who claim they received nothing.

Agency Seven Seven is now exploring legal avenues in other jurisdictions to pursue the owed payments, emphasizing that the sum, trivial for a corporation of X’s stature, remains unpaid after 12 months. This situation reflects poorly on the company’s post-acquisition handling of severance for its small African team.

This incident is part of a broader wave of legal challenges against X, with over 2,200 arbitration cases reported globally and a notable lawsuit by former employees in California for failing to pay promised severance packages totaling at least $500 million.

Former staff from the Africa office share a sense of determination despite their disillusionment, eager to receive the severance they say is rightly theirs.