A Twitter worker posted an appeal to Elon Musk, inquiring whether he had been fired. In a tweet to the firm’s chief executive, Halli Thorleifsson said:
Your head of HR is not able to confirm if I am employed or not. Mr. Musk responded by asking: What work have you been doing?
Mr. Thorleifsson said to the BBC that nine days after he was locked out of Twitter accounts, he still did not know if he had been dismissed or not.
Mr. Thorleifsson claims he was informed of his dismissal through email after a series of follow-up questions and answers with Mr. Musk that read like a live interview for his job.
Mr. Thorleifsson, 45, served as Twitter’s senior director of product design. He complained to the BBC that his position’s uncertainty caused undue worry. He said:
I opened my computer on Sunday, March, 6, 2023 morning nine days ago and saw that the screen was grey and locked indicating that I had been locked out of my Twitter accounts. After a few days had passed I started reaching out to people, including Elon and the head of HR to ask about my situation.
The head of HR has since twice emailed me and has not been able to answer whether or not I am an employee at Twitter.
He was so upset and sent a tweet to Elon Musk:
Dear @elonmusk 👋
9 days ago the access to my work computer was cut, along with about 200 other Twitter employees.
However your head of HR is not able to confirm if I am an employee or not. You've not answered my emails.
Maybe if enough people retweet you'll answer me here?
— Halli (@iamharaldur) March 6, 2023
After that Musk responded to his Tweet:
I would need to break confidentiality to answer this question here.
If you have your lawyers share in writing that I can do that then I’d be happy to discuss that openly!
— Halli (@iamharaldur) March 7, 2023
After being prompted multiple times, Mr. Thorleifsson provided a list of his company-related accomplishments. When Mr. Musk was done responding, he sent two laughing emojis.
All active design projects.
— Halli (@iamharaldur) March 7, 2023
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Thorleifsson claimed that shortly after that conversation, he received word from Twitter’s HR that he had been let go.
Mr. Musk chimed in with some responses to the widely posted debate on Twitter.
He went on to further criticise Mr Thorleifsson saying: “The reality is that this guy (who is independently wealthy) did no actual work, claimed as his excuse that he had a disability that prevented him from typing, yet was simultaneously tweeting up a storm. Can’t say I have a lot of respect for that.
The Icelandic businessman having founded the Reykjavik, Iceland-based creative design agency Ueno in 2014, sold it to Twitter in early 2021. Since Twitter acquired his company, he has been working there full-time. He told the BBC:
I decided to sell for a few reasons but one of them is that I have muscular dystrophy and my body is slowly but surely failing me.
I have a few good work years left in me so this was a way to wrap up my company, and set up myself and my family for years when I won’t be able to do as much.
Thorleifsson is concerned that Musk would break his word to Twitter and not deliver on the promise he made when selling the company. He said:
This is extremely stressful. This is my retirement fund, a way to take care of myself and my family as my disease progresses. Having the richest man in the world on the other end of this, potentially refusing to stand by contracts is not easy for me to accept.
Last month, Elon Musk appeared to fire another 200 Twitter employees. It means that Twitter now has just over 2,000 workers – down from approximately 7,500 in October. Mr Thorleifsson said:
Companies let people go, that’s within their rights. They usually tell people about it but that’s seemingly the optional part at Twitter now.
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