By CCN: Billionaire Elon Musk is in the middle of raising $2.7 billion in fresh capital from the market through a series of stock offerings. So now would be a very bad time for someone at the company to pop out of Tesla and say something that’s not to Musk’s liking.
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) May 2, 2019
This is probably why Tesla’s security team sent a stern warning to employees on Thursday, telling them to keep their mouths shut or they will be in trouble.
Tesla Wants Employees to Shush
According to the email which Tesla shared with CNBC, the company has a target on its back. The email states:
"As a result of our success, we will continue to see an interest from people who will do anything to see us fail. This includes people who are actively seeking proprietary information for their own gain, targeting Tesla employees through personal networks or on social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter."
However, recent news out of Tesla indicates that the company has been anything but successful. Weak delivery numbers, logistics problems, and issues with the self-driving feature that have led to fatalities don’t make for good PR.
BREAKING NEWS: Tesla hit with lawsuit by family of Walter Huang, Apple Engineer who died last year when autopilot in Model X steered him into a traffic barrier Southbound 101 in Mountain View. #ABC7now pic.twitter.com/1cEql1vllc
— Dan Noyes (@dannoyes) May 1, 2019
It seems it would be best if such problems are swept under the carpet so that Elon Musk can capture more of investors' capital and carry out his grand plan to change the world. And what’s the best way to do that? Remind your employees of the trouble they will face if they step out of line.
"These solicitations are not only potentially damaging to our company, they can also be illegal, putting you and your colleagues/friends at risk for termination or even the possibility of criminal charges."
Speak and Face the Music
The internal email listed a bunch of actions Tesla has taken against errant employees of late. From terminations to lawsuits to felony charges, it has used several weapons at its disposal to ensure that Elon Musk can run a tight ship.
In short, problems at Tesla should not get out into the public spotlight. Tesla has let its employees know in no uncertain words of the severe consequences they might face if they leak any confidential or proprietary information.
There’s actually nothing wrong with having such a policy in place. But Elon Musk has been known to have a tenuous relationship with the people working at Tesla. From allegedly threatening to “nuke” an ex-employee to trying to destroy a whistleblower who revealed the toxic work conditions at the Gigafactory, Elon Musk has gone to great lengths to ensure that Tesla isn’t painted in a bad light.
In fact, Elon Musk reportedly approves every single employee hired by Tesla. There have been reports that the company spies on its employees as well.
Tesla is at a critical juncture where it is looking to raising cash so that it can get its house in order and eventually achieve Elon Musk’s dream of a $500 billion market cap. So he could do without the distraction of a pesky employee complaining about workplace conditions.