Elon Musk Secures New Hearing Regarding Tweet on Union Dues; Tesla Stocks Respond

**Federal Appeals Court to Reconsider Ruling in Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Stock Options Case**

A federal appeals court has announced that it will reconsider its previous ruling in a case involving Tesla CEO Elon Musk and allegations that he unlawfully threatened to take away employees’ stock options. The ruling had upheld an order from the National Labor Relations Board to delete a tweet by Musk and resulted in the rehiring of a fired Tesla employee. However, the court has now decided to hear the case again before the full court. This decision has temporarily snatched away a legal victory for the United Auto Workers union, which had initiated an organizing effort at a Tesla facility in California.

**Background of the Case and Musk’s Controversial Tweet**

The case originated in 2018 during efforts by the United Auto Workers union to organize Tesla employees in Fremont, California. During this time, Elon Musk posted a tweet on May 20, 2018, stating that there was nothing stopping the Tesla team from voting for the union but questioned the need for paying union dues and giving up stock options. Musk’s tweet received considerable attention and raised concerns of union-busting.

**5th Circuit Court’s Previous Ruling**

In March, a panel of judges from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled in favor of the National Labor Relations Board’s order to delete Musk’s tweet. The panel also supported the decision to rehire a terminated Tesla employee with back pay. The court deemed the tweet to be an implied threat to end stock options as retaliation for unionization. Additionally, there was evidence that the fired employee had been terminated for lying about protected union activity, rather than performance-related reasons or legitimate business interests.

**Reconsideration of the Ruling by the Full Court**

The recent order from the court states that a majority of the full-time judges have voted to rehear the case before the full court, overturning the previous ruling. This development puts the UAW’s legal victory on hold, leaving the final outcome uncertain. The 5th Circuit Court currently has 16 full-time judges and one vacancy awaiting confirmation. The judges who ruled on the initial panel consisted of James Dennis, Leslie Southwick, and Cory Wilson, each nominated by former Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Trump, respectively.

**Arguments from Tesla Attorneys**

Tesla’s legal team has argued that the previous panel decision contradicted Supreme Court and appellate court precedents concerning First Amendment free speech protections. They contended that Musk’s tweet was within his rights to express his opinion and did not constitute an unlawful threat. Moreover, they justified the termination of the employee based on false information provided during an investigation into employee harassment.

**Implications of the Reconsideration**

The reconsideration of the case by the full court raises questions about the future outcome and its impact on the ongoing labor organizing efforts at Tesla. It will provide an opportunity to thoroughly examine the complex legal issues involved and potentially shape the interpretation of free speech protections in relation to labor rights. The UAW and Tesla will closely monitor the proceedings and prepare for further legal arguments.

*Note: The images used in this article are for illustrative purposes only and do not depict any actual individuals or events.*

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