On Monday, May 5, in Borodaenko v. Twitter, Inc. (“Borodaenko”), a California federal judge mostly dismissed a putative class action alleging Twitter, Inc. of discriminating against employees with disabilities by requiring them to report to the office, put in long hours, and work at high intensity after the mass layoffs in November 2022. One plaintiff’s claims were dismissed, while the other plaintiff’s claims were sent to arbitration.
Background to Borodaenko
Plaintiff Dmitry Borodaenko filed a lawsuit against Twitter on November 16, 2022, alleging that he was fired shortly after he told his boss he would not follow CEO Elon Musk’s announcement that all employees must begin working in person. His reasoning was that as a cancer survivor, he was vulnerable to COVID-19. Borodaenko also claimed that after he was fired, a memorandum was sent out mandating that employees commit to long hours, which discriminated against people with disabilities.
Plaintiff Abhijit Mehta, a senior engineering manager, was added to the suit on December 7, 2022, claiming that he was approved to take family leave from December 28 to May 16. Shortly after Musk took over, Mehta was told he would be laid off. Several other employees who were taking or planned to take family or medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act and California Family Rights Act were also laid off.
Twitter’s Motion to Dismiss
In December 2022, Twitter filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ lawsuit, claiming that it did not discriminate against its disabled employees when it initiated mass layoffs and made changes to its work culture following Musk’s acquisition of the company because the changes impacted every worker.
Twitter also argued that Mehta agreed to arbitrate any employment disputes he had with Twitter. It asked the court to enforce the arbitration agreement.
His Honor Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. granted Twitter’s motion to dismiss Borodaenko’s claims, stating that Borodaenko had failed to state a claim on both the Americans with Disabilities Act and California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Borodaenko only referred to his own circumstances in claiming he was terminated because he refused to return to the office, citing the 2021 ruling in Liu v. Uber Techs. Inc which held that “the Court cannot draw an inference of disparity from a single data point.”
As to Mehta’s claims, His Honor Gilliam Jr. stayed the claims and sent them to arbitration.
For more information on the court’s decision in Borodaenko and the law on disability discrimination in California, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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