Tesla is accused of firing two California-based employees because they were part of a group that discussed and drafted letters criticizing CEO Elon Musk’s strict return-to-the-office policy and Musk’s tweets, according to complaints from her Lawyers and a Bloomberg report.
A draft letter urged Tesla executives to reconsider returning all workers to the office, a policy put in place in late May. Another said Musk’s tweets violated Tesla’s anti-harassment policy. Both employees who filed complaints were fired in June. One had just gotten a raise the month before and the other was told their discussions were “an attack” on the company, according to filings with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The draft letters were never sent internally, Bloomberg reports, but both employees said they were fired for just discussing the issues.
The case is another example of a Musk-owned company facing charges of retaliating against workers who take collective action over working conditions, in violation of federal labor laws. Employees have the right to engage in “protected concerted activities,” which include conversations to gain support on a matter of common employee concern. Earlier this year, eight former SpaceX employees claimed they had shot illegally after writing a letter calling for stricter “zero tolerance policies” following allegations of sexual harassment against Musk.
These employees also filed a complaint with the NLRB and retained the same San Francisco law firm as the former Tesla employees.
Around the time of this complaint, hundreds of SpaceX employees signed an open letter condemning Musk’s behavior on Twitter, calling it an embarrassment and distraction for the company.
Tesla has been the subject of lawsuits and complaints over the years over a number of employee-related issues, including but not limited to sexual harassment, racial discrimination and harassment, and failure to provide 60 days’ notice of layoffs.
Tesla could not be reached for comment as it dissolved its public relations department in 2019.