Elon Musk Demands Money Back From Employees He Laid Off


After firing a number of X-formerly-Twitter staff in Australia, the platform's new owner Elon Musk is threatening to take them to court, demanding to claw back payments after claiming the company had accidentally overpaid them.

The flailing social media service fired much of its remaining staff stationed in Australia back in January 2023. But thanks to an alleged currency "conversion error," the social media company is now asking the fired employees to repay up to $46,500 in US dollars in some cases, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

In other words, X is kicking its former staff while they're down — a gross example of an employer blaming laid off workers for its own careless accounting mistake.

AUD Lang Syne

According to the report, at least six former X employees received letters in the mail, alleging that they had "received a significant overpayment in error in January 2023."

"We would be grateful if you could arrange the repayment to us [using the account details below] at your earliest convenience," the letter reads.

The payment was made to the former staff in the form of Twitter shares, which were valued at the price when Musk bought the company in 2022. The number of shares varies, depending on how long each employee worked for the company.

Per the Herald, overpayments range anywhere between $1,000 and $46,500 US.

The company also threatened the former staff members with legal action if the money wasn't repaid.


According to the Herald, none of the former employees yet have complied with the unusual request.

The social media platform has also been hit by a class-action suit in California, filed by former employees who claim they were never paid severance.

The latest accounting error shouldn't come as a surprise, considering the sheer chaos the company has been in over the last two years. Following his disastrous acquisition of Twitter, Musk has slammed the company with several rounds of mass layoffs. The mercurial CEO's abhorrent behavior has since scared away many advertisers, and the platform has quickly descended into a cesspool of misinformation, conspiracy theories, and extreme right-wing pundits.

It's still unclear whether X has any recourse in asking for its money back. Employment law specialist Hayden Stephens told the Herald that the former employees should ask the company for supporting evidence before handing over any money.

Under Australian labor law, Stephens explained that "there is usually an obligation to repay that money" in the case of a genuine mistake.

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