Twitter employee doesn’t know if he’s been fired – and takes on Elon Musk

short message service
Twitter employee doesn’t know if he’s been fired or not – and is now publicly taking on Elon Musk

Twitter boss Elon Musk

The Icelander has recently been able to Haraldur “Halli” Thorleifsson no longer logs into his employer’s Twitter service account. Was that to be understood as termination? Even after almost two weeks, not even Twitter’s human resources department can answer that.

As is well known, Elon Musk has often got the wrong tone, but this time he may have messed with the wrong person: The millionaire Twitter owner had a questionable discussion with Icelander Haraldur Thorleifsson, who had only asked him a simple question. The 45-year-old from Reykjavik found out a few days ago that he could no longer log in to his work laptop – apparently his account had been deactivated. Since Musk’s takeover of the short message service, this has been the signal for many employees that they have been fired – but then usually with a warning.

Thorleifsson had received no warning. Helpless, he turned to the HR department and asked about it. “The HR department wrote to me twice and both times they couldn’t tell me if I was still a Twitter employee,” the product designer told the BBC. After nine days of waiting, it became too colorful for him: he publicly addressed his boss on Twitter: “Your human resources department can’t confirm if I’m still an employee or not. You haven’t replied to my emails. Maybe I’ll get an answer if enough people retweet this?”

Twitter employee gets no replies

Haraldur “Halli” Thorleifsson is no ordinary Twitter employee, however. The 45-year-old founded his own successful design company in 2014, which he sold to Twitter in early 2021. Part of the deal at the time was that he could keep working as long as he could – because Thorleifsson suffers from progressive muscular dystrophy and is in a wheelchair. “My body is letting me down little by little,” he explains to the BBC of his terminal illness. The father-of-two saw the sale of his company to Twitter as his retirement plan and as a safeguard for his children.

Elon Musk didn’t seem to know any of this when he tweeted Thorleifsson began to discuss. And when he realized who he was dealing with, he even used the Icelander’s special situation against him. “The truth is, this guy (who is financially independent) hasn’t actually done any real work. The excuse he gave is that he has a disability that prevents him from typing. At the same time, he’s tweeting like a savage here. I can’t say I have a lot of respect for that,” Elon Musk said on Twitter.

Those words about a man with muscular dystrophy? hard stuff. In addition, the question arises as to whether Musk should have spoken at all about Thorleifsson’s health problems without permission.

Has Elon Musk leaned too far out the window?

The Icelander then took the time to patiently and cynically explain to Elon Musk about his previous work for the company and the muscle power in his hands. “Infinite respect for you, I could never keep my composure in such a situation,” writes a Twitter user. Many others strongly advise him to hire a lawyer. Thorleifsson will certainly do that.

He says: “This is all extremely stressful. It’s about my retirement and looking after myself and my family as my illness progresses. It’s hard for me to face the richest man in the world who might ignore legitimate contracts accept.”

Sources: Twitter, BBC

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