Elon Musk is certainly no stranger to controversy. The eclectic CEO is always grabbing headlines, but this time, the reason he is showing up in the news has to do with a past sentiment he shared on social media. And the government is telling him he has to remove that post or suffer even worse consequences.
The National Labor Relations Board has ordered Elon Musk to delete a tweet he made in 2018 when talking about unions. It has been dubbed an “unlawful tweet” as part of a 2019 ruling by an administrative judge. We have included a snapshot of the tweet below in case it gets deleted. But, you can also see the direct tweet in the link above if it has not yet been taken off the platform.
Elon Musk and his company, Tesla, have been embroiled in battles with the United Auto Workers union and this is some of the fallout from those legal entanglements. It looks like Musk is going to have to be very careful about how he speaks on this subject in the future, at least on public forums like Twitter and other social media platforms.
And that is not the only reprimand Elon Musk will have to deal with in regards to this particular tweet. Tesla is also going to have to post a notice at all of its factories across the nation. What will be the purpose of this notice? It will have to address the “unlawful tweet” and be in clear view for any workers at the facilities. Essentially, the judge is saying that this tweet and the explanation as to why it was deemed unlawful has to be posted in every Tesla factory in the country. Talk about getting put on blast in front of your employees. Originally, the ruling said that Elon Musk or a representative from the labor board would have to read a notice to the employees that said Tesla violated the law.
There are even more orders that Elon Musk and Tesla will have to obey. One of the major ones has to do with what kind of freedoms Tesla employees have when deciding to talk with the media. Specifically, this would pertain to any conversations employees have with media personnel that are protected by the National Labor Relations Act. The big caveat here is that Tesla employees do not need to have consent from the company to engage in these talks. Employees normally had binding language in their confidential agreements that forbid them from talking to the media without receiving permission from the company. Now, those permissions are no longer necessary. That seems like a fair break for the rights Tesla employees should have.
It is powerful to know that what you say on social media can be used against you in a court of law. And to know that the exact post can be something that will hang over your business for the foreseeable future if not forever. Elon Musk has hopefully learned a valuable lesson here. Will he take the tweet down? Only time will tell.