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Tesla Hit with Lawsuit Alleging Sexual Harassment, ‘Bro Culture’


— November 19, 2021

Tesla Motors was recently hit with a lawsuit over sexual harassment claims.


Tesla Motors was just hit with a lawsuit alleging the company’s Fremont factory has done nothing to stop incidences of sexual harassment. The suit was filed by Jessica Barraza, an employee who claims “she and other women have been subjected to nightmarish conditions of rampant sexual harassment.”

A 2013 image of Tesla and SpaceX founder and owner Elon Musk. Image via Flickr/user:heisenbergmedia. (CCA-BY-2.0).

According to the lawsuit, Barraza said she works nights and noted that when “she walks to and from her work station at the beginning and end of shifts or breaks, men make comments like ‘She’s got fat titties,’ ‘She’s got cakes!,’ ‘That bitch hella thick,’ ‘Go ahead, sexy,’ ‘Damn, girl!,’ ‘She has a fat ass,’ ‘Oh, she looks like a coke bottle,’ and ‘Girl has an onion booty.’”

Barraza began working at the Fremont location in October 2018 as a productions associate and was hoping to spend “her career at Tesla and rising through the ranks.” However, now she’s on medical leave “after suffering panic attacks triggered by the harassment.” The suit further states:

“Multiple times a week, male co-workers 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.”

To make matters worse, Barraza said the company’s HR team and her managers ignored her complaints and failed to protect her. The complaint states:

“Ms. Barraza, who started her career at Tesla as a strong, confident, ambitious woman, is currently on a medical leave until the end of the year, ordered by her doctor, in treatment with a therapist who has diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder, and on anxiety medication.”

The first paragraph of the complaint paints a clearer picture of the allegations. It reads:

“Although Tesla publicly claims that it fosters a safe and respectful environment for its workers, the truth is that for years Tesla has subjected women working in its Fremont plant to nightmarish conditions of rampant sexual harassment. 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 pervasive culture of sexual harassment, which includes a daily barrage of sexist language and behavior, including frequent groping on the factory floor, is known to supervisors and managers and often perpetrated by them. Jessica Barraza complained repeatedly to managers and to HR, who failed to protect her. She was forced to endure this atrocious and illegal behavior for years until she could not take it anymore. Ms. Barraza is bringing this case to put a stop to the systemic sexual harassment that plagues her and the other women at Tesla.”

At the moment, the suit is accusing Tesla of “sexual harassment in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, failure to prevent sexual harassment, and retaliation.” Barraza claims that after she complained to her HR team about the sexual harassment, she was retaliated against and “denied certain privileges and benefits that were afforded to women who did not object to supervisors’ sexual advances and flirtations.” She is seeking punitive damages and compensatory damages. 

Sources:

Lawsuit: Tesla is like a “frat house” with “frequent groping on the factory floor”

Tesla hit with new sexual harassment lawsuit alleging the company operates like a ‘frat house’

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