Tesla recently sent out a warning to its staff around potential consequences that could occur if confidentiality agreements were violated. In the letter, employees were told that the company had an “intense” amount of public interest, and there are individuals out there that are willing to do “anything” to see Tesla fail.
According to CNBC, the automaker warned their workers that some of these individuals, seemingly journalists, would be focusing on Tesla staff, via their social media handles. The company advised staff that if they were requested information through these accounts, they should forward these messages to the security team.
The letter reportedly stated that these types of solicitations not only posed potential damage to Tesla, which essentially placed coworkers and friends at risk around losing their job; there is even a possibility around criminal charges.
The company offered a variety of examples around inappropriate conduct and possible consequences for staff whom could be uncertain around what “unacceptable” behavior outlines. They included:
- An instance where a Tesla staff member posted on their social media regarding dial-in info for an internal meeting at the company. Said employee was identified and then fired the next day.
- Last month, a former employee had a felony charge filed against them when they exfiltrated business information that was confidential from the company’s domain to their personal account, and then threatened to release said confidential Tesla information.
- An ex-staff member uploaded company intellectual property to an iCloud personal account, then left Tesla for the competition. The automaker is now suing the individual for stealing trade secrets.
- The company also filed another lawsuit against a competitor and former staff for stealing trade secrets and proprietary info. to help said competitor speed through years of work required to run and develop warehousing, inventory control, and logistics operations.
- Early in 2019, a staff member was identified for sharing business information that was confidential via Twitter with journalists; this included productions numbers. The employee lost his job for violating Tesla’s nondisclosure agreement and the company’s communications policy.
Interestingly enough, Musk, one who loves to tweet on his accord, found himself knee-deep in controversy recently when he allegedly indicated “falsely” on the social media platform via a post, where he noted that funding around taking Tesla private at $420 was “secured”. This, along with other Twitter posts from Tesla’s CEO were seen by the Security and Exchange Commission, who ordered him to refrain from making material statements via social media when it came to the automaker. Musk was required to resign as Tesla’s chairman on the board of directors for three years, and fined $20 million.