Fired Twitter Manager Sues Over Improper Cancellation of Stock Options

A former manager at Twitter was fired by Elon Musk to help revamp the social media platform. He claims that the company incorrectly canceled some stock options he held.

According to a Delaware Chancery Court lawsuit, John Barnett, whose Chroma Labs startup was purchased by Twitter, claims that the company violated a restricted stock agreement he obtained in the Chroma buyout.

Barnett, a staff product manager, was fired by Musk in November for supporting other employees who were fired due to his efforts to reduce costs. He claims that Twitter is losing $4,000,000 per day. The original lawsuit was filed on Dec. 16.

According to the 23-page complaint, “Twitter wrongfully cancelled Barnett’s” This was in violation of the Chroma pact. “which caused Barnett to suffer, and continue to suffer, irreparable harm,” the complaint states.

Twitter officials did not immediately respond to a Wednesday email seeking comment. This lawsuit is one of many legal actions ex-workers at Twitter took after Musk’s October takeover.

Ex-colleagues of Barnett claim that in a California lawsuit, Twitter failed to provide proper layoff notices. They also claim that they are not receiving severance payments.

Musk purchased the social media company for $ 44 billion. He fired half of the employees, asked some key employees to return, reduced its work-from-home policy, and demanded that workers sign a pledge not to quit Twitter.

Musk threatened to declare bankruptcy if the company suffered more than $3B in losses. Ex-Facebook programmer Barnett is best known for his apps that have photo-editing and video-editing features. He joined Twitter in 2020 after the acquisition of Chroma Labs.

According to the Delaware suit, Barnett was granted Twitter stock options that could not be canceled unless he was fired for wrongdoing. In the suit, the number of options was blacked out.

After Barnett supported Eric Frohnhoefer (a Twitter software engineer fired following a dispute with Musk), the manager claimed that Twitter had sent his termination notice via email to his wife’s address.

His lawyers said, “Twitter never sent this email to Barnett himself.” They also noted that Barnett’s wife was not a Twitter employee.

According to the suit, the notice stated that any unvested options would be canceled as part of the company’s decision to fire Barnett.

Barnett asks a Delaware judge for an order requiring Twitter to adhere to the stock-award agreement terms and to pay him for any unvested options. John Barnett v. Twitter (Wilmington), 2022-1163, Delaware Chancery Court.

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