Ex-Twitter Engineer Accuses Twitter of Retaliation for Helping Doomed Coworkers

Ex-Twitter Engineer Accuses Twitter of Retaliation for Helping Doomed Coworkers

One of the nearly 4,000 Twitter employees laid off in the company‘s tumultuous post-Elon Musk acquisition says the company illegally targeted him for trying to help fellow employees save documents prior to their abrupt removal from the company.

Former Twitter engineer Emmanuel “Manu” Cornet reportedly filed a complaint with the National Labour Relations Board on Monday accusing them of retaliatory actions days after Musk took the helm as CEO. That firing, according to the complaint, came in response to a Google Chrome extension Cornet built and shared with employees that let them download emails from their Gmail accounts. Twitter haphazardly moved to lay off around half of its global workforce last week and has already reportedly had to beg some of those workers to return.

Cornet detailed some of the time leading up to his firing on his personal blog. With rumours of mass layoffs circling Twitter’s online channels, Cornet says he decided to upload his email downloading tool to the Google Play Store and then sent a copy of that link to a Twitter Slack channel. Workers, now in hindsight rightfully fearful of sudden layoff calls from their new boss, could use the tool to download important documents like performance reviews, stock statements, key proofs of achievement and other human resources documents.

“Think about it: if you thought you may lose access to all your work email tomorrow, is there anything in there that you may need?” Cornet said.

Twitter allegedly saw things differently. Cornet, in the complaint and on his blog alleges Twitter fired him the same day he shared the extension link on Slack. The post containing the link was also allegedly taken down. Cornet published a redacted version of his termination email which said his, “recent behaviour has violated multiple policies.”

Twitter did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

Cornet has had a busy few days away from Twitter. Last week, he was the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit accusing Twitter of potentially violating federal and state laws requiring companies generally to provide at least 60 days of advance notice for major layoffs.

“A couple of people much smarter than me have suggested that that this may be an excuse to fire me over a ‘troublemaker’ vibe coming from me,” Cornet said on his blog. “I don’t deny that, and I don’t blame the new management for preferring not to have to deal with that liability.”

The new complaint comes on the heels of another unfair labour complaint filing, this time by the Alphabet Workers Union, which accused Google of illegally preventing contract workers from accessing an online “Share my Salary” spreadsheet showing workers pay rates. The AWU says hundreds of workers had submitted pay details to that spreadsheet since it was created in 2021 in an effort to bolster workplace transparency. According to the AWU, Alphabet withdrew access to that spreadsheet on July 14, leaving as many as 50,000 workers locked out of the file.

“It’s clear that Alphabet and its various affiliates do not want workers to be armed with knowledge regarding pay rates across the company,” Alphabet Workers Union Organising Chair Shelby Hunter said in a statement. “Every Alphabet worker, including Temporary, Vendor and Contract workers, have a right to pay transparency and fair wages.”

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