In a significant move, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has filed a formal complaint against Elon Musk’s company, X, formerly known as Twitter. The NLRB’s “Region 20” San Francisco branch has alleged that X violated the National Labor Relations Act by terminating Yao Yue, a principal software engineer, shortly after Musk assumed control in October. The NLRB claims that X fired Yue because she attempted to organize other Twitter workers who were dissatisfied with Musk’s sudden change to the company’s work requirements.
CNBC reported that Musk sent emails to Twitter employees outlining his expectations, which included a warning that any manager dishonestly praising an employee’s work would be fired. Moreover, Musk stated that if employees could physically make it to the office but chose not to, their resignation would be accepted. These directives raised concerns and anger among several workers who were not prepared to return to the office immediately.
Yue responded to Musk’s directives by advising her colleagues not to resign but rather let themselves be fired. She emphasized that resignation would yield no benefit. Yue also alerted her coworkers in a company Slack channel, urging them not to be fired and underlining the seriousness of the situation.
The NLRB asserts that many of Yue’s colleagues responded to her messages, indicating a significant level of discontent within the company. The NLRB also claims that Musk instructed his management team to monitor online posts and Slack conversations to identify individuals who should be terminated. Five days after Yue’s messages, she was fired, allegedly for violating an unspecified company policy. Yue contends that her termination was a retaliatory act for her attempt to organize her coworkers against resignation, which would have provided legal grounds for challenging any separation from the company.
The NLRB alleges that X has been interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in exercising their rights guaranteed by national labor law. X’s actions, according to the NLRB’s complaint, amount to unfair labor practices. The NLRB seeks to make Yue whole for any direct or foreseeable pecuniary harm resulting from X’s unlawful conduct. Additionally, the NLRB aims to provide other consequential damages suffered by Yue and demands all other appropriate relief to remedy the alleged violations.
A hearing on this case is scheduled for January 30 in San Francisco. This legal battle will be closely watched as it unfolds, as it has the potential to set a precedent for the protection of employees’ rights and the consequences companies face for violating labor laws.
The NLRB’s complaint against X reveals serious allegations of labor law violations, specifically concerning the termination of an employee who criticized management’s return-to-work policy. Whether X violated the National Labor Relations Act and engaged in unfair labor practices will be determined in the forthcoming hearing. This case highlights the importance of protecting employees’ rights and ensuring fair treatment in the workplace.