The court ruled that Elon Musk violated federal labor law with his 2018 tweet. Tesla was also ordered to rehire a worker it had illegally fired.
A US Court of Appeals ruled that Elon Musk violated federal labor laws when he threatened to strip employees of stock options if they unionized.
The Court of Appeal upheld a previous National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that found Musk had made unlawful threats to employee compensation.
The allegation was made in response to a 2018 tweet in which Musk responded to a user who asked about his views on unions. The lawsuit was filed by the United Auto Workers after workers at the Tesla plant in Fremont, California tried to unionize.
“There is nothing stopping the Tesla team at our car factory from voting in the union. We could do it now if we wanted to. But why pay union dues and give up stock options for nothing? “, Musk wrote on Twitter.
Tesla lawyers argued that since Musk said there was nothing to stop Tesla workers from joining a union, it could not be seen as a threat. However, the appeals court sided with the NLRB’s original decision.
“Because stock options are part of Tesla employee compensation and nothing in the tweet suggests that Tesla will be forced to waive stock options or that United Auto Workers will cause stock options to be waived, substantial evidence supports the NLRB’s conclusion that the tweet is a veiled threat of termination of stock options as retribution for unionization,” the commission said in its opinion.
The court also ordered Musk to delete the tweet and reinstate Richard Ortiz, a worker fired after organizing a union movement at Tesla’s Fremont, California plant. He will receive a debt after an illegal dismissal.