back to article Tesla ran over worker rights, again, US labor judge finds

Tesla broke US labor laws yet again, a watchdog concluded, this time not by suppressing labor organizing, but by prohibiting workplace discussion of wages and complaints, and blocking employees from appealing to higher-level managers.  As a result of a National Labor Relations Board judge's ruling [PDF] this week, Tesla will …

  1. Jim Mitchell
    WTF?

    Am I missing something, or is there no actual penalty?

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Penalties

      Correct, Tesla has been put on notice that it's breaking the law and has to remedy that.

      C.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Penalties

        I'd hope the employee who get suspended and fired would have been awarded a payout - or maybe that was a separate case.

        1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

          Re: Penalties

          Of course not.

          The only people with rights are rich people, little people are nothing but parasites.

          Go watch American tv or movies, its amazing how many times the theif is some poor person and the victim is a rich person who of course is always giving away money to charity.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Penalties

            Also note how the big heroes in US movies are always either gazillionaires of simply steal what they need.

            You'd almost think politicians encourage that to normalise themselves.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Penalties

              But then children in Seppotania are encouraged to "demand with menaces" in the words of the police offences act. (Halloween trick or treating to you). I always have to restrain my curmudgeonly urge to apply an educational hosing down, so they would understand why we don't go threatening strangers.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Penalties

                in most US states, if you are threatened you can use a gun to defend yourself.

                so the problem will be swiftly solved...

                (and it is less probable that you'll be sued than if you try to wash them away)

      2. MrDamage Silver badge

        Re: Penalties

        So the NLRB is taking a page out of the London bobby footchase handbook.

        "STOP! Or we'll say STOP! again!"

    2. usbac Silver badge

      Of course there was. They have been asked nicely to not do that again.

      That is about as much teeth as any labor regulations in the US ever have.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh come now, be fair.

        Sometimes they are asked politely but firmly rather than nicely.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Years ago EDS had a rule about not discussing pay and another that employees who quit had to repay recent training costs. It always seemed to me that anyone wanting to quit would simply start discussing their pay and get fired.

    1. sanmigueelbeer

      When I worked for EDS, we used to call it "every day s*cks".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      At private companies where I've worked we've been asked, but not instructed, to not discuss pay. The request is couched in some sort of "in order to ensure the fairest compensation" sort of language, but the underlying message is clearly "we want to pay some folks more than others, so work hard and you'll get an extra cookie; but if the others find out we won't have enough for everyone and you won't".

      This makes perfect sense from a management perspective, of course. Reducing the amount of information available in the market makes it less efficient and gives them more control over their resources. For an individual employee, it's a game-theory problem: will you get a higher reward from cooperation or defection? (This may be easier or harder to determine based on your personal evaluation of the various intangible rewards, such as helping other employees or feeling an obligation to employer requests.)

      When I worked for a public university, on the other hand, everyone's compensation was public information; you could look them up online, from the lowliest part-time staff and faculty to the highest administrators. Some faculty members took to posting the list of salaries in the department on their office doors.

  3. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Angel

    Good Enough

    There appears to be no other punishment: Tesla has to promise to not break the law in future.

    Fortunately, Mr. Musk's word is his bond.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good Enough

      Thanks. Now I have to wipe my screen because of all the sarcam dripping off it.

      :)

    2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Good Enough

      I am pretty sure that any video of EM promising to be up to good is a deep fake

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US employment practices

    Cruel and unusual oppression hiding in plain sight.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: US employment practices

      Ah i see you have a US employer as a parasite, have an upvote, and a beer... use the empty bottle as you see fit

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: US employment practices

        Ah no, they've cunningly made petrol now so expensive that molotov cocktails require you to take out a loan first..

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          icon

          icon

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: US employment practices

          Just hurl flaming 18650's - the factories full of 'em.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: US employment practices

      If you call that hiding you must have been spectacularly bad at hide and seek in your youth..

      :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: US employment practices

        “Hiding”

        A great many leftpondians seem to think US employment practices are fine and dandy.

        I’d say that’s hiding in plain sight.

  5. heyrick Silver badge

    There appears to be no other punishment

    And there lies the root of why the leftpondian country seems like a really shit employee hostile (in the extreme) place to work.

    I'm sure it benefits all of those who grew up with rich daddies. Everybody else? Not so much.

    1. F. Frederick Skitty Silver badge

      Re: There appears to be no other punishment

      In the USA freedom just means the freedom to exploit...

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: There appears to be no other punishment

        Truer words were never spoken.

        That's EXACTLY what it means.

        When comes to personal freedoms, i.e., actual civil rights, Americans have less than most other 1st world nations, and don't even realize it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So Tesla runs over labour rights..

    .. like it runs over children?

    Does that mean that they have an FSD variant in charge of HR?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rat-fucker Tesla Management and Regulatory Agency Capture

    The NLRB is now well-populated by executives sympathetic to employers' "concerns". Such executives can plan on finding a cushy job with said employers when they retire from the NLRB. And the NLRB welcomes executives to its ranks who have "experience" in labor relations by way of having worked in HR at large corporations. It's the "revolving door" form of corruption.

  8. Alistair
    Windows

    Interesting postions

    For the initial matter in question in TFA, I'm guessing that TSLA HR folks hadn't gotten that "Supervisor" their entire training kit before putting them out there. While American labour laws are indeed shit when compared to just about *any* other country, one thing just about anyone should know in the US is that "You aren't allowed to discuss your pay" is something NO manager is allowed to say or attempt to enforce. There's a federal labour law about precisely that. Jackass was toeing the corporate line, just hadn't been taught the correct monkey words to use in that situation. That said, the relevant supervisor should be shortly showing up as a General Manager at a TSLA plant somewhere, he clearly gets the management directive.

    I do hope that the dismissed employee is pursuing this further. There's a nice payday somewhere down the line for them.

    As for "Regulatory Capture", oddly the NLRB is *slightly* better off than many other such agencies, they do tend to include folks with union backgrounds at the management level, although I'll note that at the moment the balance is indeed tipped to the Corporate HR types side, but only slightly. Fortunately, NLRB doesn't *write* the labour laws they're tasked with enforcing, but the management point of view can substantially change the effort they put into pursuing issues on a regular basis.

    *That* said, just look at the layoff/staff cut rates across the entirety of the labour forces in the US, Canada, Mexico, EU, Japan, India etc. Its quite clear that profitability, dividends, executive bonuses and C suite salaries are the single priority of business these days, and the labour laws can go fuck themselves apparently.

    1. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

      Re: Interesting postions

      "*That* said, just look at the layoff/staff cut rates across the entirety of the labour forces in the US, Canada, Mexico, EU, Japan, India etc. Its quite clear that profitability, dividends, executive bonuses and C suite salaries are the single priority of business these days, and the labour laws can go fuck themselves apparently."

      And you've completely missed all the people who got laid off from their "high paying job with nothing to do" positions at many of these tech companies!

      It's like people complaining about WalMart here in the US. You can go to any WalMart and observe the employees. You will notice that at least 40% of them are doing absolutely nothing! They are not on break, they are just screwing off! WalMart knows this, they are not going to fire them. They know that most of these people are not going to be able to find a job anywhere else where they will be expected to actually work for 8 hours!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So much for Musk the free speech absolutist

    see title

  10. martinusher Silver badge

    Dual Standard

    For some reason everyone thinks that Tesla is some kind of collective where they're free to set their own wages, hours and working conditions. Its not, its a generic US corporation. Everywhere else.....well, let's look at the reality of working in the US.

    Practically everywhere in the us is an 'at will' state. What that means is that absent a binding (union) contract to the contrary you can be fired at any time with no reason and no notice. (You're also free to walk out at any time but I'd strongly recommend you don't, at least if you want another job.) Much of the legal wrangling centers around the difference between being fired 'for cause' and just being laid off. The difference is crucial because you don't get unemployment if you're fired for cause.

    The NLRB is a rump agency that deals primarily with old-fashioned working conditions in unionized employment (hence the rather toothless response in this case). Like the UK union shops are now very much a minority and considerable effort is spent by corporate to keep it that way.

    I never cease to be amazed by people who vote for governments that systematically undermine workers' rights and then spend endless hours on social media castigating employers for treating employees like farm animals. There also seems to be a serious misunderstanding about ''technology' and 'startup' culture, I'd guess based on media myths. You can make a lot of money out of startups but its not guaranteed and you'll have to work like you've never done before (forget the whole "work / life balance" thing......).

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