Two former Tesla employees are saying they were illegally fired from the company after taking part in an organized effort to publicly criticize Elon Musk, according to Bloomberg.
The two employees, both of whom are based in California, have filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board. The firings may have violated federal law protecting employee speech related to working conditions.
The employees say they were involved in drafting two letters, one of which asked Tesla to reconsider its return-to-the-office policies and the other highlighting a tweet by Musk that they argue violates the company’s anti-harassment policies. The draft letters were never sent to Tesla executives, according to Bloomberg.
“Tesla’s failure to enforce its non-harassment policy and its implementation of its post-Covid return to office policy.”
According to the complaint, as cited by Bloomberg, the employees say they were fired for discussing “Tesla’s failure to enforce its non-harassment policy and its implementation of its post-Covid return to office policy.” (The Verge has filed a Freedom of Information request with the NLRB for the documents involved in the case.)
The case mirrors a similar one involving a group of former SpaceX employees that claim they were illegally fired after writing a letter that called on the company to strengthen its “zero-tolerance policies” following sexual harassment allegations against Musk. Nine employees were ultimately fired after the letter came out in June 2022, eight of whom filed the charges with federal regulators.
The former SpaceX employees filed a complaint with the NLRB and retained a San Francisco law firm to represent their case. The former Tesla employees have retained the same firm. A spokesperson for the firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment — and hasn’t since 2019, when it disbanded its press relations division.
Tesla has had a number of employee allegations and lawsuits filed against it over the years, including union-busting, “rampant” sexual harassment, and racial and gender discrimination. Meanwhile, “hundreds” of SpaceX employees have signed a letter denouncing Musk’s behavior.
US law prohibits employers from taking action against workers, both unionized and non-unionized, for taking collective action related to their working conditions.