Some times a character test presents itself in the guise of a legal question.
And when that character test presents itself it’s the duty of general management — not their lawyers — to decide with wisdom and discernment.
Because — except where there is an actual violation of law or of the bar authority’s canons of ethics — lawyers considering moral issues can miss the forest (discernment) for the trees (strict, technical rule compliance).
Consider this sequence relating to Tesla:
1. Two months ago California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health opened an investigation into Tesla following a report about “underreporting recordable work-related injuries and illnesses”.
2. Two weeks ago Tesla announced that it would lay off nine percent of its work force.
3. Ten days ago (June 18) Bloomberg reported that — as a condition to receiving severance payments — Tesla would require a laid-off employee to sign the following statement of fact:
” [The laid-off employee] had the opportunity to raise any safety concerns, safety complaints, or whistleblower activities against the company, and that if any safety concerns, safety complaints, or whistleblower activities were raised during your employment, they were addressed to your satisfaction.”
Temple University law professor Brishen Rogers:
“I do think the agreement will chill valid employee complaints …. A reasonable worker would just keep their mouth shut, rather than risk losing their severance pay.”