The National Labor Relations Board confirmed on Thursday a 2019 ruling that Tesla had illegally fired a worker involved in the union organizing and that the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, had illegally threatened workers with the loss of Stock options if they unionized.
The board ruled that the worker, Richard Ortiz, should be reinstated with back pay and that Musk should delete his tweet. The company must also publish a notice agreeing not to violate labor laws in the future and announcing that it will undertake the mandatory remedies.
Ortiz had been visibly involved in union organizing, including distributing flyers in the parking lot of the company’s Fremont, California plant, before being fired in October 2017. The company said it fired him because he had posted screenshots of employees. profiles on a platform internal to Facebook. An administrative law judge ruled that it was in retaliation for her organizing efforts.
The judge also found that the company had issued an illegal warning to another employee for taking the screenshots and sending them to Mr. Ortiz, a ruling the board also confirmed Thursday.
In May 2018, Musk posted his tweet, which included the clause: “Why pay union dues and give up stock options for nothing?” Both the judge and the board considered the position an illegal attempt to coerce employees by threatening their compensation.
The board went beyond the judge’s previous ruling on some issues, finding that Tesla’s confidentiality agreement, which required employees to sign, illegally prohibited them from speaking to the media about Tesla without authorization, even if the material was public. Thursday’s ruling requires the company to modify its agreement.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.