A judge ruled on Friday that Tesla committed a series of violations of the National Labor Relations Act in 2017, according to Bloomberg. And, surprisingly, this ruling didn't even have anything to do with forcing people to build cars in tents.
Rather, administrative law judge Amita Baman Tracy found that Tesla illegally threatened and retaliated against its employees.
And among the key pieces of evidence in making the determination was - you guessed it - Elon Musk's Twitter account. Musk Tweeted in May of 2018, suggesting that employees would surrender company-paid stock options if they chose to join a union.
Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when plant was UAW & everybody already gets healthcare.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 21, 2018
The judge's order now calls for Tesla to offer both reinstatement and back-pay to a fired, pro-union employee. It also calls for the company to revoke a warning issued to another pro-union employee.
But here's the best part: the ruling also says that Musk must hold a meeting at the company's Fremont assembly plant, and that either Musk or an agent with the labor board must read a notice to employees informing them that the NLRB concluded the company broke the law.
If that doesn't trigger Elon, we're not sure what will. We desperately hope that video of this mea culpa, especially if delivered by Musk, leaks. And why wouldn't it - everything else seems to be leaking from the company lately?
While the NLRB can't hold executives personally liable, nor can it assess punitive damages, the ruling will embolden UAW supporters who have been trying to tie EV subsidies to companies' workplace practices.
The ruling can be appealed to NLRB members who are presidential appointees in Washington and both sides have concluded that an appeal is already a foregone conclusion.
“This will be appealed no matter what I decide,” the Judge said last year during the trial.
Meanwhile, Tesla continues to fall back to the perfunctory and impotent defense that everyone in the world is out to get their visionary boy genius leader.
“This entire trial is an infomercial in an effort to place Mr. Musk and the company in a negative light,” Tesla's attorney said at the start of the trial in June 2018.