Recently, a national news source reported a finding by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regarding Tesla’s illegal termination of a California employee. The findings affirmed a 2019 ruling that found that Tesla illegally threatened workers if they engaged in union activities. The employee, in this case, was organizing union participation by distributing pamphlets in the company’s California parking lot. Tesla fired the employee, attributing the termination to the employee’s posting of employees’ profiles on social media. About seven months after the termination, Elon Musk tweeted a statement that said, “why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing?”
An NLRB administrative judge found that the termination was in retaliation for the employee engaging in union activities. Further, the judge ruled that the company engaged in employment law violations when it issued warnings to another worker for sending screenshots and sending them to the employee. Finally, the board ruled that Tesla’s confidentiality agreement contains an illegal provision that prohibits employees from speaking with the media without the company’s permission. The NLRB ruling requires Tesla to amend the provision in their confidentiality documents. Tesla has not issued a comment on the recent Board findings.
Certain federal and state laws protect California employees in organizing and joining a union. Unions are a critical way for employees to ensure that their employer negotiates in good faith over terms and conditions of employment, including work hours, and compensation. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects certain California employees from engaging in unionizing activities. Some protected activities include allowing employees to self-organize, form, join, or assist labor organizations, engage in collective bargaining agreements, and other related activities.
Although the NLRA makes it illegal for a California employer to retaliate against an employee based on their union activity, it is a practice that continues to occur. Retaliation takes many forms, including threatening employees with a loss of job or benefits, threatening to close the company or facility, questioning employees about their union support, promising benefits to employees who discourage union participation, and terminating employees or making their positions more difficult.
Most employers are well-versed in the law and find ways to engage in illegal conduct by purporting valid reasons for the adverse employment action. An experienced attorney can help employees assert their claims by proving causation through direct evidence or inference.
Have You Suffered An Adverse Employment Action by Your California Employer?
If you believe your employer is unlawfully retaliating against you, contact the experienced California employment law attorneys at The Nourmand Law Firm. The attorneys at our law firm work on behalf of workers statewide. We have dedicated our practice to protecting California employees and ensuring that our clients can fully and readily assert their employment rights. Our practice handles California class-action lawsuits, defamation, discrimination and harassment, retaliation, wage and hour violations, and wrongful termination. Through our representation, our clients have received back pay, reinstatement, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. Contact our office at 800-700-WAGE to discuss your rights and remedies against your unlawful employer.