Twitter has told the High Court it has restored Irish-based senior executive Sinead McSweeney to her position with the company.
Last week, Ms McSweeney, Twitter’s global vice president for public policy, secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing the social media giant from terminating her employment.
She claimed that by not responding to a generic and vague email sent to all Twitter employees by its owner, multi–billionaire Elon Musk, earlier this month, she was treated as if she was no longer employed by the company.
She said she never resigned from her job but had been locked out of Twitter’s IT system and was unable to access the firm’s Dublin office.
When the matter returned before Mr Justice Brian O’Moore on Wednesday, Mark Connaughton SC, appearing with Rosemary Mallon BL, for Twitter, said the company was offering undertakings to restore Ms McSweeney’s access to all aspects of the company’s IT system and Twitter’s premises at George’s Quay in Dublin 2.
It was also Twitter’s intention to “turn the noise down”, said counsel, by allowing the firm’s human resources section to enter into negotiations with Ms McSweeney with the aim of resolving the dispute.
Counsel said that while his client was prepared to offer the undertakings, Twitter was also seeking to have the matter adjourned to allow his side to formally reply to the claims made against it.
Frank Beatty SC, instructed by solicitor Adrian Twomey, for Ms McSweeney, said Twitter’s comments to the court were welcomed. However, his client remained concerned about her employment status and whether the undertakings would be fully complied with.
Ms McSweeney was concerned by Twitter’s initial response to her claims. Counsel expressed a view that her application to have the temporary orders extended until the full hearing of the action should be heard by the court.
Noting the company’s response, Mr Justice O’Moore said he was “not touchy-feely”, nor was he “a HR manager”, and he was going to deal with the matter in accordance with the law.
He set out a timetable for the exchange of legal documents and adjourned the case to a date in late December.
The orders previously granted, along with the undertakings offered by Twitter, are to remain in place, he directed.
The judge also recommended that the sides enter into discussions in “a forthright manner”.
Any failure to do so, the judge added, would see the parties back before the court in the first quarter of next year.
In her action, Ms McSweeney said that by not responding to an email sent by Mr Musk to the company’s employees, Twitter then informed her that she had accepted an exit package.
Despite not resigning, she said she was then locked out of Twitter’s Dublin office and its internal IT systems, including her company email account.
The court heard that solicitors’ letters were sent to Twitter on her behalf.
She claimed Twitter’s lawyers acknowledged to her that she had no intention to resign, confirmed that her commitment to her work “had never been questioned”, and that her access to the IT systems would be restored.
Ms McSweeney claimed that she was concerned about her job because of the “mixed messages” she had been getting from both Mr Musk himself and his senior US-based associates since the company was taken over.
She says that despite the communication from the company, she remained locked out of both the IT systems and Twitter’s Dublin office.
She was also unable to attend a scheduled meeting at the Dublin office as she was unable to access the building, leaving her embarrassed, humiliated and upset.
She claimed she was “unable to work” and expressed a fear that the company had “resigned me”, contrary to the terms of her employment.
Mr Musk, she claimed, has since the takeover been running the company “in an unorthodox manner”, rehiring and firing “with no apparent logic”. She said she did not trust the company.
Arising out of that, Ms McSweeney applied for and secured an interim court order preventing Twitter International Unlimited Company from terminating her contract of employment.
The injunction, which was granted on an ex parte basis, also restrained Twitter from applying the terms of an email sent to her on November 16th last by Mr Musk, to her contract or condition of employment.
She further secured an order restraining Twitter from communicating to any third party or publishing any information to convey that her employment with the company has been in any way altered since the November 15th last.