(Bloomberg) -- After Twitter Inc. forced workers laid off during a mass purge by Elon Musk to go through private arbitration to argue they were cheated of severance pay, the company is making it impossible for the former employees to meet its demands, according to their lawyer.

The social media platform last month won a ruling requiring workers who had signed arbitration agreements to resolve their grievances in closed-door hearings overseen by private judges instead of through a class-action lawsuit in open court.

But now Twitter is arguing it won’t participate in the arbitrations if the workers didn’t produce their own signed agreements, their attorney, Shannon Liss-Riordan, said in a court filing. On top of that, for former employees whose agreements don’t specify a private judge who will handle their cases, Twitter isn’t cooperating with the workers on finding one and is refusing to pay fees for the arbitration process, she said.

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“It is clear that Twitter’s request to move the case to arbitration is simply a ruse to try to avoid these claims altogether,” Liss-Riordan wrote. 

A lawyer for Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Since taking over the company, Musk has overseen firings or departures of roughly 5,000 of Twitter’s 7,500 employees and instituted a “hardcore” work environment for those remaining.

The case is Cornet v. Twitter, 22-cv-06857, US District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

--With assistance from Josh Eidelson.

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