Tesla Inc chief executive Elon Musk has asked employees to return to the office or leave the company, according to an email sent to employees and seen by Reuters.
“Everyone at Tesla is required to spend at least 40 hours in the office per week,” Musk wrote in the email sent Tuesday evening.
“If you don’t show up, we’ll assume you quit.”
“The more senior you are, the more your presence should be visible,” Musk wrote. “That’s why I lived so long at the factory – so those on the line could see me working alongside them. If I hadn’t done that, Tesla would have gone bankrupt long ago.”
Two sources have confirmed the authenticity of the email reviewed by Reuters. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.
Big tech companies in Silicon Valley are not requiring workers to return to the office full-time, amid resistance from some workers and a surge in coronavirus cases in California.
Tesla moved its headquarters to Austin, Texas, but has its engineering base and one of its factories in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“There are of course companies that don’t need it, but when was the last time they shipped a great new product? It’s been a while,” Musk wrote in the email.
“Tesla has created and will make the most exciting and meaningful products of any company on Earth. It’s not going to happen by phoning it.”
One of Musk’s Twitter followers posted another email that Musk apparently sent to executives asking them to work in the office for at least 40 hours a week or “quit Tesla.”
In response to the tweet, the billionaire, who agreed to take Twitter Inc private in a $44 billion deal, said, “They should pretend they’re working somewhere else.”
Some Tesla employees expressed displeasure with Musk’s latest comments in messages they posted on the anonymous app Blind, which requires users to sign up using the company’s email as proof of identity. employment in companies.
“If there is a mass exodus, how would Tesla finish the projects? I don’t think investors would be happy about it,” wrote a Tesla employee.
“Waiting for it to back up real quick,” another worker posted.
A California-based labor advocacy group has attacked Musk’s plan to return to office.
“Employers, including the state government, are finding that the mandatory return of all employees is a recipe for outbreaks,” Stephen Knight, executive director of Worksafe, wrote in a statement emailed to Reuters.
“Unfortunately, Tesla’s disregard for worker safety is well documented, including their disregard for the county public health department at the start of the pandemic,” he wrote.
In May 2020, Musk reopened a Tesla factory in Fremont, California, defying Alameda County lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Tesla reported 440 cases at the plant from May through December 2020, according to county data obtained by legal news site Plainsite.
Musk’s rocket company SpaceX reported 132 cases of COVID-19 at its headquarters in the Los Angeles-area town of Hawthorne last year, according to county data.
Musk had previously played down coronavirus risks, saying “coronavirus panic is stupid” and that children are “essentially immune” to coronavirus. He then caught COVID-19 twice.
Musk said last month that “Americans are trying to avoid going to work at all,” while Chinese workers “won’t even leave the factory kind.”
“They will burn the 3 a.m. oil,” he told a conference.
Tesla’s factory in Shanghai has been pulling out all the stops to ramp up production after the lockdown in China’s economic hub forced the factory to close for 22 days.
While some large employers have permanently adopted voluntary work-from-home policies, others, including Alphabet Inc’s Google, are asking employees to gradually return to work.
Alphabet has required employees to be in offices at least three days a week starting in early April, but many employees have been approved for fully remote work.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted in March that Twitter offices would reopen but employees could still work from home if they preferred.
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