A employee at Tesla’s manufacturing unit in Fremont, California, is accusing the automaker of making a hostile work atmosphere the place sexual harassment was “rampant.” As first reported by The Washington Submit, Jessica Barraza, who was employed as a manufacturing affiliate in 2018, stated in a lawsuit filed this week that she was subjected to fixed harassment on the manufacturing unit, together with catcalling and inappropriate bodily touching.
“Nearly every day for three years, my female coworkers and I were objectified, threatened, touched, and propositioned on the factory floor,” Barraza stated in an announcement emailed to The Verge. “I wanted to come to work, do my job, and support my family without having to endure constant sexual harassment. I felt degraded, humiliated and traumatized.”
The grievance filed in California Superior Court docket alleges that supervisors and managers on the Fremont plant not solely have been conscious of a “pervasive culture of sexual harassment” that included sexist language and bodily groping however participated within the ongoing abusive conduct. Barraza reported the problems to Tesla’s human assets division, which she says failed to guard her.
The Fremont plant is the place Tesla makes its Mannequin S, Mannequin 3, Mannequin X, and Mannequin Y electrical automobiles. In October, the corporate was ordered to pay $137 million to a former contractor on the Fremont plant who alleged he was subjected to racial harassment as a part of a hostile work atmosphere.
In response to Barraza’s grievance, whereas strolling to and from her workstation over the course of a workday, she heard feedback from males remarking on her “coke bottle” determine and making feedback about her physique, together with “fat ass” and “onion booty.” Male coworkers would “brush up against Ms. Barraza’s back-side (including with their groins) or unnecessarily touch her under the pretext of working together in close quarters,” the grievance alleges.
In September, Barraza started having panic assaults. She is at present on a doctor-ordered medical go away from her job and is being handled for post-traumatic stress dysfunction and nervousness.
“Tesla’s factory floor more resembles a crude, archaic construction site or frat house than a cutting-edge company in the heart of the progressive San Francisco Bay Area,” the lawsuit states.
Lawsuits in opposition to Tesla are comparatively uncommon partly as a result of, as Barraza’s lawsuit notes, the corporate requires staff to signal arbitration agreements as a situation of employment, that means the employees waive their proper to a jury or courtroom trial.
However the Fremont manufacturing unit has been recognized in at the very least one different lawsuit as a “predator zone” of harassment. In 2017, now-former Tesla engineer AJ Vandermeyden sued Tesla for “unwanted and pervasive harassment,” alleging that she and different feminine staff have been denied promotions and paid lower than their male colleagues and confronted retaliation once they reached out to human assets with their considerations. Vandermeyden was fired by Tesla a number of months after taking her claims public.
Barraza’s lawsuit describes harassment, each verbal and bodily, of different feminine staff as effectively. She advised The Washington Submit in an interview that the tradition of harassment got here straight from the highest, citing a tweet by CEO Elon Musk joking a few college he wished to start out, which might have a crude acronym. Musk himself shouldn’t be named within the lawsuit.
“That doesn’t set a good example for the factory — it almost gives it like an … ‘he’s tweeting about it, it has to be okay,’ ” Barraza advised the Submit. “It’s not fair to myself, to my family, to other women who are working there.”
Tesla didn’t reply to a request for remark from The Verge on Friday. The corporate dissolved its press workplace and barely responds to media requests. Barraza is searching for compensation, together with misplaced again pay, and an injunction to finish harassment on the Fremont plant. Her attorneys additionally plan to file a declare underneath the California Personal Attorneys Common Act on behalf of Barraza and different girls who allege they have been harassed on the manufacturing unit.
“Tesla is responsible for the systemic sexual harassment occurring in its factory,” Barraza’s lawyer, David A. Lowe, stated in an announcement to The Verge. “We are bringing this case to put a stop to the harassment against Ms. Barraza and her colleagues.”