“This is unprecedented. And it’s frankly really uncool.”
What you need to know
- The U.S. government issued an executive order preventing Tiktok from carrying out transactions in the country from September 20.
- TikTok employees are now suing the government, alleging a violation of the 5th and 14th amendments.
- TikTok itself is also launching its own lawsuit soon.
TikTok employees plan to sue the U.S government for its upcoming TikTok ban. The language of the executive order, as written, prevents “transactions” with the company. This could be interpreted to extend to paychecks and is something the employees are invested in clarifying.
“This restriction means that approximately 1,500 ByteDance and TikTok employees in the USA will lose their paychecks as of September 20, 2020, because “any transaction by any person” is illegal after the order goes into effect,” a GoFundMe campaign raising funds for the lawsuit said. Patrick Ryan, the TikTok employee who started the campaign criticized the move as “unprecedented” and “frankly really uncool” over on LinkedIn.
The employees would be represented by a team of lawyers including Mike Godwin of Godwin’s law fame.
In an interview, Godwin said the executive order violated the fifth and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution, which state that no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” The lawsuit could be filed by the end of next week.
“It’s fundamentally a due process claim, but there are some employment law claims that also may be relevant,” said Godwin, who’s working with the Blackstone Law Group in New York. “We just want to make sure that we check all the boxes.”
TikTok itself also plans to file a lawsuit against the United States government, accusing the ban of being unconstitutional and being based on nothing. The company confirmed to CNET that the employee suit is unrelated to their own.
In the meantime, U.S. companies like Microsoft and Twitter are attempting to purchase the business, but China is unlikely to stand idly by, seeing the move as a “smash and grab.”
White House document confirms TikTok could be cut off from app stores and advertisers