Elon Musk Apologizes for Twitter Feud With Disabled Employee

  • Elon Musk apologized on Tuesday for mocking a former Twitter worker who has muscular dystrophy.
  • Musk had accused the worker of no longer doing “precise paintings” and advised him to justify why he must stay his task.
  • A legal professional advised Insider Musk’s conduct presentations a “antagonistic” mindset towards folks with disabilities.

Elon Musk has apologized for publicly accusing a former Twitter worker of doing “no precise paintings” as a result of his incapacity.

Haraldur Thorleifsson, an Iceland-based entrepreneur and previous Twitter worker, ended up in a public change with CEO Elon Musk. Throughout this change, Thorleifsson attempted to determine if he were fired from the tech corporate. 

However on Tuesday, Musk publicly trolled Thorleifsson in a chain of tweets wondering his worth on the corporate. Musk then stated Thorleifsson used his incapacity as an excuse to paintings much less. Thorleifsson has muscular dystrophy.

Musk tweeted: “The truth is this man (who’s independently rich) did no precise paintings, claimed as his excuse that he had a incapacity that averted him from typing, but was once concurrently tweeting up a typhoon. Can not say I’ve a large number of recognize for that.”

Amid the Twitter back-and-forth, Thorleifsson stated he gained a affirmation from Twitter’s HR division that he now not works there.

On Tuesday, after a lot public scrutiny, Musk backtracked, announcing he spoke to Thorleifsson over a decision. He then apologized and invited Thorleifsson again to paintings on the corporate. 

Musk additionally stated that Thorleifsson is “bearing in mind closing at Twitter.” 

Thorleifsson has been open about dwelling with muscular dystrophy 

Thorleifsson has tweeted about how he is lived with muscular dystrophy, announcing that he began the usage of a wheelchair when he was once 25 years previous.

“In that point the remainder of my frame has been failing me too. I want assist to get out and in of mattress and use the bathroom,” he tweeted.

Thorleifsson stated he advised Twitter’s HR division that his incapacity had began affecting his fingers. This intended he could not sort on a pc for greater than an hour or two at a time. He was once in a position to tweet from his telephone as a result of he simplest had to make use of one finger, he stated.

He added that his incapacity did not considerably impact his function prior to Musk’s takeover of Twitter, as a result of his task most commonly concerned guiding groups as a substitute of appearing handbook paintings on computer systems.

Thorleifsson didn’t straight away reply to Insider’s request for remark.

This isn’t the primary time Twitter has been scrutinized through disabled workers for its place of business practices. In November, disabled workers at Twitter filed a class-action lawsuit in opposition to the corporate, announcing Musk’s new “extraordinarily hardcore” paintings tradition and orders to “paintings lengthy hours at prime depth” pressured them to surrender.

Employment legal professional: “You may suppose that any person can be a little extra delicate.”

Nicholas P. Connon, an employment lawyer founded in Los Angeles, advised Insider that whilst Musk apologized for his public accusations, his allegations that any person would use their incapacity as a “crutch” have been “relating to.”

“It has a tendency to turn a mindset this is antagonistic against folks with disabilities while you get started wondering their integrity, on the subject of whether or not they’ve a incapacity — or whether or not they are making an attempt to make use of the incapacity in a technique to get out of labor,” Connon stated. “And that is the reason actually no longer the right factor to do.” 

Connon additionally identified that Musk himself has been vocal about dwelling and dealing with a incapacity. Throughout a 2021 look on Saturday Night time Reside, Musk printed that he has Asperger’s, an autism spectrum dysfunction

“And so you could suppose that any person who you recognize has their very own state of affairs can be a little extra delicate to any person who was once announcing they’ve a incapacity,” Connon stated. 

Elon likes to reply briefly to eventualities, legal professional says

Connon advised Insider that he had a “positive appreciation” that Musk is a CEO who talks to his workers, however stated that this debacle with Thorleifsson was once “a little odd.” 

“There is something sure about that, but additionally some probably destructive penalties,” Connon stated.

As any person who represents employers, Connon stated that the majority legal professionals would recommend in opposition to having such communications publicly. In California, Connon identified, employers run the chance of violating worker privateness rules. 

“Every so often I am getting the influence that Elon likes to reply briefly to eventualities and publish such things as ad-libs,” Connon stated. He added that it’s “fascinating” that any person in Elon’s place would reply to a query about HR problems on Twitter.

Connon added that there is a reason an HR division can be accountable for responding to workers — as a result of “they’re a little extra knowledgeable and they’re a little extra figuring out of the complexities of the employment rules.”

Thorleifsson, who’s founded in Reykjavik, Iceland, joined Twitter as a full-time worker in 2021 after Twitter got Ueno, an inventive company he based. He was once named through a number of Icelandic media retailers because the country’s individual of the yr for 2022 and was once praised for taking wages at Twitter — quite than being paid out for his corporate — to pay extra taxes in Iceland.

Connon stated it’s tough to resolve what employment rules offer protection to Thorleifsson since he’s founded in Iceland. The main points of his contract also are no longer public wisdom. 

Representatives for Twitter didn’t straight away reply to Insider’s request for remark.

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