Elon Musk has repeatedly referred to himself as a “free speech absolutist” and promised that on his Twitter even his “worst critics” can be welcome.
After all, as we famous from early on, Elon really has a horrible track record concerning punishing his personal staff for his or her speech. That features utilizing ridiculously broad NDAs to silence them
Now, Platformer’s Zoe Schiffer is reporting that Twitter has despatched laid off staff “a legal notice warning them about a non-disparagement clause” of their separation agreements. And, the letter claims (ridiculously, and incorrectly) that the non-disparagement clause “applies to you whether or not you signed the settlement or not.”
The textual content of the non-disparagement clause is tousled as nicely:
As well as, in keeping with relevant legal guidelines, the No Disparagement provision in Paragraph 7(c) prohibits you from making any written or verbal communications concerning the Firm, any Releasee, the Firm’s management workforce and administration, Board of Administrators, or services or products which might be defamatory or disloyal, reckless, or maliciously unfaithful underneath relevant regulation together with Nationwide Labor Relations Act requirements.
I imply, the inclusion of the NLRA requirements is simply the cherry on prime of this shit sundae, as a result of the NLBR actually simply weeks in the past declared that employers may not offer severance agreements with non-disparagement terms.
Right this moment, the Board issued a decision in McLaren Macomb, returning to longstanding precedent holding that employers might not provide staff severance agreements that require staff to broadly waive their rights underneath the Nationwide Labor Relations Act. The choice concerned severance agreements provided to furloughed staff that prohibited them from making statements that would disparage the employer and from disclosing the phrases of the settlement itself.
The choice reverses the earlier Board’s selections in Baylor College Medical Middle and IGT d/b/a Worldwide Sport Expertise, issued in 2020, which deserted prior precedent find that providing comparable severance agreements to staff was not illegal, by itself.
Right this moment’s determination, in distinction, explains that merely providing staff a severance settlement that requires them to broadly surrender their rights underneath Part 7 of the Act violates Part 8(a)(1) of the Act. The Board noticed that the employer’s provide is itself an try to discourage staff from exercising their statutory rights, at a time when staff might really feel they need to surrender their rights with a view to get the advantages supplied within the settlement.
In some methods, this creates a sort of amusing state of affairs: by having Twitter declare that the coverage is underneath NLRA requirements, and the NLRB saying that these clauses are usually not allowed… it might be learn to imply that Twitter is admitting the whole clause is null and void.
However, in fact, that’s probably not what’s happening right here. Twitter and Musk are possible counting on the intimidation issue and the idea that most people he unceremoniously fired gained’t be accustomed to the latest NLRB ruling on this matter.
In the meantime, let’s be clear: even with out the NLRB ruling, the non-disparagement clause right here is complete bullshit. Issues which might be defamatory are already actionable underneath defamation regulation. “Maliciously unfaithful” looks as if a bizarre misunderstanding of the particular malice normal, however remains to be coated by defamation regulation.
However “disloyal” and “reckless” are completely arbitrary nonsense, and never one thing you’ll be able to police.
And the concept this is applicable even to individuals who didn’t signal it isn’t how something works in any respect.
It does, nevertheless, counsel (YET AGAIN) that quite than being supportive of free speech, Musk is yet one more wealthy and highly effective individual with a fragile ego who can’t take even the slightest little bit of criticism, and feels the necessity to intimidate folks into silence.
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