Tesla Workers Say They Were Fired for Criticizing Elon Musk’s Tweets, Policies

  • Two Tesla workers claim they were illegally fired for criticizing Elon Musk and company policy.
  • They filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board through their attorneys.
  • Some SpaceX employees made similar claims earlier this year.

Two Tesla employees say they were illegally fired for complaining about company policies, according to complaints filed with the National Labor Relations Board earlier in December.

The workers claim they were cut loose for discussing their working conditions, including “Tesla’s failure to enforce its non-harassment policy and its implementation of its post-COVID return to office policy,” according to the filings. Discussing working conditions is a protected activity under US labor law. Bloomberg first reported their complaints.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

The employees were part of a group drafting letters to Tesla’s executive team, according to a press release from their attorneys. They were fired before the letters were circulated, but after they had been discussed on internal chat groups, lawyers said.

One letter called for changes to the company’s strict return-to-office policy announced in May, which required all Tesla employees to work from a company office for at least 40 hours per week. At the time, Musk tweeted that anyone not on board with the plan should “pretend to work somewhere else.”

Another said that Musk’s “sexualized and gendered” tweets violated Tesla’s anti-harassment policy, the attorneys said.

One employee was fired a month after receiving a performance-based raise. The other was told that organizing employee discussions amounted to an “attack” on Tesla, according to a filing.

Labor issues have landed Tesla in hot water before.

In 2021, the NLRB found that Tesla broke the law by firing a union activist. It also required Musk to delete a tweet it that it said was a threat to labor organizers. In August, the board found that the carmaker violated workers’ rights by prohibiting them from wearing union shirts while on the job.

In November, a group of SpaceX employees filed a similar complaint saying they were fired after writing an open letter calling out Musk’s behavior. (The rocket company was founded and is run by Musk.) Both sets of employees are represented by the same attorneys from Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP.

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