Employees at Tesla’s Fremont factory in California are facing “abundant sexual harassment”, according to the lawsuit filed on Thursday. In a lawsuit in the Alameda State Supreme Court, Jessica Barraza, a production associate at Tesla, said she had been exposed to “nightmarish” working conditions for the past three years. Barraz’s lawsuit describes a factory floor that looks more like a “rough, archaic construction site or fraternity house” than a place for advanced electric vehicle production.
Barraza’s accusations against Tesla are numerous. In one incident, the lawsuit alleges that a male colleague stabbed her leg between her thighs when she went to hit her after a lunch break. Amid harassment, Barraza says her complaints remain deaf ears. In one case, she says the supervisor did nothing when she complained that a colleague was staring at her chest. “Maybe you shouldn’t wear shirts that draw attention to your breasts,” her superior told her, according to the suit. Barraza told the man that she was “wearing a work shirt provided by Tesla”.
“After nearly three years of experiencing harassment, it takes away your sense of security – it almost dehumanizes you,” Barraza said in an interview with Washington Post, who was the first media outlet to file a lawsuit. We turned to Tesla for comment. The company usually does not respond to media requests.
The lawsuit comes a month after a Tesla federal court ordered it to pay $ 137 million to a black employee who said they were exposed to daily racist abuse at his Fremont factory. “We continue to grow and improve in the way we deal with employee concerns,” the company said at the time. “We will make mistakes from time to time, and when that happens, we should take responsibility.” Tesla complains about the award.
Tesla is also not the only electric vehicle manufacturer accused of fostering a toxic workplace for women. Just days before the IPO, Rivian was sued by Laura Schwab, one of its former CEOs. In her lawsuit, Schwab alleges that the carmaker fired her after she complained of a “toxic‘ fraternal culture ’” for which she was excluded from meetings and more. “Culture in Rivian was actually the worst thing I’ve experienced in more than 20 years in the automotive industry,” Schwab said at the time.
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