X reportedly illegally fired an employee who criticized Musk's return-to-work plan

Elon Musk
(Image credit: Getty Images)

X has been accused of illegally firing a worker who spoke out about the company’s return-to-office mandate, possibly in a bid to prevent other workers from following suit.

CNBC broke the news after spotting a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) notice published by its San Francisco branch.

The complaint relates to two separate sections of the National Labor Relations Act relating to ‘Concerted Activities’ and ‘Discharge.’

X workers are still upset about office-based working

The NLRB claims that the worker in question, ex-principal software engineer Yao Yue, was fired over her attempt to organize a group of other X users (then Twitter) who were against the company’s return-to-office mandate, after being promised hybrid working setups months earlier (and more notably, before Musk’s takeover).

Platformer managing editor Zoë Schiffer posted on November 10 2022 that Musk said to employees in a company all-hands: “If you can physically make it to an office and you don’t show up, resignation accepted.”

Schiffer also noted that the all-hands was called with just one hour’s notice, and that Musk himself reportedly turned up 15 minutes late.

Outraged by the comment, Yue said in a retweet: “Don't resign, let him fire you. You gain literally nothing out of a resignation.”

During this time, the NLRB document also alleges that Musk ordered managers to scan online threads and internal channels like Slack to highlight any such comments. Yue was fired five days later.

The complaint reads: “Ms. Yue alleges that Twitter chose her for layoff in retaliation for her attempt to organize her co-workers not to resign, so they would have better legal footing to challenge any separation from Twitter.”

TechRadar Pro asked X to comment on the case, but we received a ‘busy now, please check back later’ response - slightly more engaging than the ‘poop’ emoji that the company previously used in its automated response.

A court hearing is expected to take more than three months, with a date currently set for January 30, 2024.

More from TechRadar Pro

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!