Oct 13, 2023 - Technology

X illegally fired worker who opposed Musk's return-to-office order: NLRB

X's company headquarters in San Francisco, California, in July. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint Friday against X — formerly known as Twitter — alleging the company illegally fired a worker over a tweet that challenged its return-to-office mandate.

Why it matters: It's the first time the NLRB has issued a formal complaint against X.

  • The incident stems from the employee's response to a return-to-office order last November from X's owner, Elon Musk, per Bloomberg.

What they're saying: "The complaint alleges that a high-ranking official at Twitter/X told staff 'If you can physically make it to an office and you don't show up, resignation accepted,'" according to an NLRB spokesperson in a statement to Axios.

  • In response, the NLRB says an employee tweeted and posted in a Slack channel urging colleagues not to resign in order to prompt Twitter/X to fire them instead.
  • According to Bloomberg, the tweet read: "Don't resign, let him fire you. You gain literally nothing out of a resignation."

The complaint alleges that X "unlawfully discharged the employee for exercising their right to protected concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act," per the NLRB.

Zoom out: This is not the first time Musk's companies have been subject to NLRB allegations, including around back-to-office mandates.

  • X settled with a former employee earlier this year who "NLRB prosecutors had concluded was illegally punished for protesting its return-to-office mandate," according to Bloomberg.
  • SpaceX also settled a claim brought by NLRB prosecutors that it had restricted an employee's speech.
  • And in March, Tesla lost an appeal to an NLRB ruling that it had illegally fired an employee over union advocacy, per Bloomberg.

What's next: A hearing with an NLRB administrative law judge is scheduled for Jan. 30 in San Francisco.

  • "The General Counsel is seeking remedies including: making whole the employee who was unlawfully discharged and electronically and physically posting a notice of employee rights," per the NLRB.
  • X did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment Friday.

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