Tesla violated national labor laws by suppressing employees at its Orlando, Florida, service center from discussing pay and bringing up grievances on working conditions, a US labor judge ruled on Wednesday (PDF). The decision comes after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accused Tesla of instructing its employees to refrain from discussing the hiring, suspension, and termination of employees last year.
Tesla has now been ordered by the judge to cease and desist from continuing to violate labor law. As pointed out in an email from NLRB press secretary Kayla Blado to The Verge, Tesla must post multi-lingual notices of the ruling around the Orlando facility in areas where it would normally post notices. The automaker will also have to mail it out to all current employees at the facility and former ones who were actively employed there on or after December 13th, 2021.
Tesla supervisors prohibited employees from complaining about anything to higher management
Some employees in 2021 were silenced when wanting answers as to why new hires were being paid more than them. They were also illegally ordered by their supervisors to only follow the chain of command — prohibiting them from complaining about anything to higher management.
The situation reached its inflection point in January 2022, when one Orlando technician was suspended by their supervisors a day after emailing and scheduling a meeting with Tesla’s VP of sales, service, and delivery to discuss concerns. A supervisor claimed the technician was threatening violence, which the technician denied.
Tesla has had run-ins with the NLRB several times already. In 2019, The automaker was found to have illegally retaliated against pro-union employees. The situation was exacerbated by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who tweeted out anti-union sentiment in 2018. NLRB also ruled that Tesla unlawfully restricted union swag, and it’s currently assessing complaints that Tesla fired two California employees over discussing working conditions — as well as allegations that the automaker busted an attempt for Buffalo employees to unionize under the guise of layoffs.