Elon Musk says X will fund legal bills for employees “unfairly treated” for posting or liking on the platform


Screenshot: @elonmusk on X

At least that’s what Elon Musk, the billionaire who purchased X (formerly known as Twitter), posted from his X account on Saturday night.

He also vowed that there is “no limit” to the funding.

Neither Musk nor X has provided further details on the offer, such as how X users can obtain legal funding or what may qualify as being “unfairly treated” by an employer. Although “employer” implies that independent contractors are ineligible.

Musk’s post garnered attention, with over 125,000 retweets and over 700,000 likes. How many X users have taken Musk up on the offer is unclear. However, a few with blue checkmarks have inquired and gotten Musk’s attention. Here is an example. Here is another.

The reality is that most at-will employees have little recourse if an employer takes adverse action based on something they like or post on X at work. Even if those employees lost their jobs over something they liked or posted on X on their own time, the odds of successful legal action remain quite low.

But, there are a notable few exceptions.

For example, an employee may work in a state with off-duty conduct laws that protect employees who engage in political activity or other legal conduct on their own time.

By way of further example, employees in the public sector have limited freedom of speech rights that a post or like on X could implicate.

Also, a collective bargaining agreement could protect unionized employees when they use X. Ironically, the National Labor Relations Board has already ruled that Elon Musk, in his capacity as CEO of Tesla, illegally threatened workers by tweeting (yes, back then, it was still “tweeting”) that unionization would result in union dues and lost stock options.

Even a group of non-union employees covered under the National Labor Relations Act will have protection for using X to engage in protected concerted activity, which is when two or more employees take action for their mutual aid or protection regarding terms and conditions of employment.

The Board further underscores that “even a single employee engages in protected concerted activity if they are acting on the authority of other employees, bringing group complaints to the employer’s attention, trying to induce group action, or seeking to prepare for group action.”

Moreover, I’ve seen lawsuits where employees claim differential treatment based on social media activity. These lawsuits, like this one, are often unsuccessful. Then again, this one was worth $5 million.

I wonder how X gets re-paid on something like that.


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