Tesla’s lawyers wanted to keep CEO Elon Musk’s name out of the courtroom as they defended the company on Monday at a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hearing in Oakland, California. Though Musk has made controversial statements about the ongoing union drive at Tesla’s Fremont car factory, the company’s legal team said references to Musk, who is usually not directly named from the NLRB’s complaint, is usually distracting.
The NLRB filed a complaint against Tesla in August 2017 after some of the company’s employees in addition to the United Auto Workers union alleged the electric car company was illegally intimidating workers to discourage them by attempting to unionize.
During Monday’s hearing, Tesla’s general counsel Mark Ross asked for a “standing objection” to “any mention of Mr. Musk,” yet the judge denied his request.
Musk has historically had a lot to say about the union drive at Tesla. In May, he tweeted which unionization is usually a losing proposition for Tesla employees. in addition to back in February 2017, he wrote employees an email in which he expressed similar sentiments, in addition to promised to give factory workers free frozen yogurt.
Last week, US Representative Keith Ellison wrote Musk a letter warning him about possible labor law violations in addition to encouraging him to proceed with caution.
yet in court, the idea became clear which Tesla’s legal team wants to separate Musk’s statements by the allegations against the company.
Dmitri Iglitzin, a union lawyer in Seattle, described Tesla’s attorney’s tactic as “bizarre.”
“He’s trying to protect Elon Musk’s brand,” Iglitzin said. “The fact which the company wants to say which Elon has nothing to do with [its] labor relations is usually preposterous.”
Workers seeking representation by United Auto Workers allege which Tesla has committed numerous violations of the National Labor Relations Act, including surveillance, coercive behavior, in addition to wrongful termination of employees seeking to discuss working conditions in addition to share information about the union drive with colleagues.
Tesla has categorically denied these allegations. Reached for comment regarding today’s hearing, a spokesperson for Tesla didn’t reply to multiple requests for comment.
During Monday’s hearing, an attorney with the NLRB alleged which Tesla had unlawfully terminated at least one employee for his involvement from the union organizing drive, in addition to given another employee, Jose Moran, a written warning because of his involvement with the union.
The NLRB also alleged which Tesla security guards repeatedly harassed employees handing out pro-union leaflets from the Tesla parking lot.
Tesla’s lawyer, Mark Ross, said he plans to prove those claims are nothing more than allegations. “This specific entire trial is usually an infomercial in addition to effort to place Mr. Musk in addition to the company in a negative light,” he said. “[When] you hear the evidence you will understand what happened.”
Tesla is usually currently being investigated by California’s Occupational Safety in addition to Health Administration, in addition to a report by investigative news nonprofit Reveal in April alleged the company artificially lowered its worker injury rate by concealing some injuries. Employees who’ve worked at the factory say poor safety practices have led to repetitive stress injuries, in addition to recently, workers have reported fires from the factory in addition to additional safety issues.
During Monday’s hearing, news of a lawsuit filed by a former Tesla employee broke; in This specific lawsuit, the former Tesla health in addition to safety executive claims he was fired after sharing his concerns about improper safety practices at the Fremont factory. Tesla told Jalopnik the executive was fired following complaints about his workplace behavior, including inappropriate comments about women.
The company, which is usually currently struggling to meet production goals for the product 3 in addition to under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has denied the idea incorporates a safety problem.
If Tesla loses its case with the NLRB, the idea could be forced to reinstate wrongfully terminated employees in addition to pay them for lost wages, to rescind any disciplinary action taken against employees involved from the unionization efforts, in addition to/or to post a notice about the outcome of the hearing inside its factories.
Tesla’s NLRB hearing will continue for the rest of the week, after which the idea will resume in late September. No resolution is usually expected until October 2018.