Tesla was not long ago synonymous with cars of the future – electric and self-driving (although there have been numerous glitches in the latter). In recent years, however, the Northern California-based company has been plagued by – among other things — discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits from employees.
Now the company has been found guilty of violating U.S. labor law by prohibiting workers at an Orlando service center from discussing their wages or working conditions or taking their complaints to executives at the company.
Employee fired for taking complaint to an executive
An administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled this spring that managers at the auto maker’s service center violated U.S. labor law when they terminated a technician who notified a company vice president (who passed the complaint on to Human Resources) that new employees were being hired at a higher hourly wage than current employees. After being terminated, the technician filed a complaint with the NLRB.
Employees told not to discuss pay, working conditions
Further, according to the judge who ruled in the case, supervisors instructed the employees at the facility that they weren’t allowed to discuss wages or working conditions or go above the heads of those running the service center to file complaints. Under the National Labor Relations Act, employers are prohibited from imposing “pay secrecy” policies or forbidding employees from discussing working conditions with whomever they choose.
The company claimed that when it learned of the meeting, it posted a notice in the service center informing employees of their rights. That apparently wasn’t enough to satisfy the judge. He ordered the company to send an email to all service center employees informing them of its violations it committed and to put a notice listing those violations in the service center.
For the most part, employees are increasingly getting more rights, at least under federal law and in some states. However, that doesn’t mean that employers, and especially individual supervisors, won’t continue to violate those rights. Sometimes they do so even when they know better. Other times, they’re unaware (particularly at lower levels of management) what the law is.
If you believe that you were wrongfully terminated for exercising your rights as an employee, it’s wise to learn more. Seeking experienced legal guidance can be a good place to start.