Tesla is being accused of firing two California-based employees for being part of a group that was discussing and drafting letters that were critical of CEO Elon Musk’s strict return-to-office policy and Musk’s tweets, according to complaints filed by their attorneys and a Bloomberg report.
One draft letter asked Tesla executives to reconsider making all workers return to the office, a policy that was put in place at the end of 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 prior, 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, reports Bloomberg, but both employees said they were fired for merely discussing the issues.
The case represents yet another example of a Musk-owned company facing allegations of retaliating against workers who take collective action related to working conditions, which is in violation of federal labor laws. Employees have the right to engage in “protected concerted activities,” which include speaking to each other to enlist support in a matter of shared employee concern. Earlier this year, eight former SpaceX employees claimed they were illegally fired after writing a letter calling for stronger “zero-tolerance policies” following sexual harassment allegations against Musk.
Those employees also filed a complaint with the NLRB, retaining the same San Francisco law firm as the former Tesla employees.
Around the time of that complaint, hundreds of SpaceX employees signed an open letter castigating Musk’s behavior on Twitter, calling it an embarrassment and a distraction for the company.
Tesla has been the subject of lawsuits and complaints for a number of employee-related issues over the years, including, but not limited to, sexual harassment, racial discrimination and harassment, and failure to provide 60 days advance notice of layoffs.
Tesla could not be reached for comment because it disbanded its public relations department in 2019.