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Twitter Exec Says He Quit After He Was Ordered To Install Illegal Locks In Company’s ‘Hotel’ Rooms

A senior Twitter executive quit the company after he refused to install illegal locks in the bedrooms at the headquarters

A senior Twitter executive quit the company after he refused to install illegal locks in the bedrooms at the headquarters. 

People walk down Market Street past facade with sign at headquarters of social media company Twitter in the South of Market (SoMA) neighborhood of San Francisco, California, November 17, 2018. SMITH COLLECTION/BENZINGA

According to a lawsuit filed by six former Twitter employees in the District Court of Delaware against Elon Musk and his company on May 16, Twitter’s global head of construction and design Joseph Killian was asked to install locks that violated California’s building codes and could risk staff’s lives in the case of a fire. 

Killian was allegedly instructed to install locks that would not automatically open if the building’s fire suppression system was activated.

The former Twitter employee was also repeatedly told that “compliant locks were too expensive and instructed to immediately install cheaper locks that needed to be compliant with life safety and egress codes,” the lawsuit states.

According to the filing, Killian protested, saying that installing the cheaper locks would put lives at risk and that, in the event of an earthquake or fire, the locks would remain locked and block first responders from being able to access the rooms. He was allegedly instructed not to report his concerns to the city inspector. The lawsuit notes that, in response, Killian quit, and another employee eventually installed the unsafe locks. 

Killian was also allegedly instructed to install space heaters in the “hotel rooms” Musk had envisioned for staff members the latter wanted to work throughout the night. Killian was also purportedly told to carry out non-compliant electrical work.

The lawsuit also accuses Musk of showing “reckless disregard” for “both the law and for the lives and safety of his colleagues and employees.”

It says Killian was told to evade the landlord’s lighting-control system because the motion-sensitive lights were bothering people trying to sleep in the rooms. 

The lawsuit says that the company directed employees to transform office spaces into “hotel rooms” while lying to city inspectors and the building owners that they were just “temporary rest spaces.”

The filing also says that Musk told an investor that he would only pay the rent of the company’s office “over his dead body” and that Twitter failed to pay its staff severance. It accuses the defendants of violating 14 counts, including fraud, labor-rights laws, and breach of contract.

The city of San Francisco is launched an investigation in to Twitter after Musk altered the plans to after the lawsuit was launched.

Musk had converted some of the office spaces into bedrooms. The city ordered the company to designate the bedrooms as sleeping areas.

The bedrooms were designated for Musk’s staff.

“They expressed surprise and relief to Killian, saying, ‘This is just furniture! We expected more drastic changes,'” a statement that was said in the lawsuit.

Produced in association with Benzinga

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