Tesla Inc subjects female workers to “nightmarish” conditions of rampant sexual harassment at its main factory, and supervisors turn their backs when complaints are brought, according to a new lawsuit.
Jessica Barraza, 38, said she has endured “near daily” catcalls and inappropriate touching in her three years at the electric vehicle maker’s factory in Fremont, California, where she works night shifts as a production associate.
The married mother of two said male workers would routinely proposition her, stare at her breasts, describe her as having an “onion booty” or “Coke bottle,” and brush up against her body while pretending it was accidental.
The final straw, according to Barraza, who lives in Modesto, California, was when a guy crept up behind her and pushed his leg between her thighs as she clocked in from her lunch break on Sept. 28.
According to a lawsuit filed in a California state court in Alameda County, west of San Francisco, he chuckled as she leaped away and said, “Oh, my bad.”
Tesla’s human resources department, according to Barraza, has not responded to her concerns from September and October and has even deactivated its firstname.lastname@example.org email account for accepting complaints.
On Friday, Tesla did not immediately reply to queries for comment. In 2020, it shuttered its main press office. Barraza’s complaint was first reported by the Washington Post.
Elon Musk, the millionaire CEO of Tesla, is no stranger to allegations of maltreatment at the Fremont factory.
On Oct. 4, a federal jury in San Francisco ordered Tesla to pay $136.9 million to Owen Diaz, a Black former elevator operator who endured racial discrimination at the company.
On Nov. 16, Tesla filed a motion to reverse the decision.
It stated that it “abhors and condemns” all racist remarks and that even if it could have done a better job of weeding out prejudice, Diaz only deserved $600,000.
Barraza is seeking damages for breaches of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, both compensatory and punitive.
She further claimed that, like many “tech businesses,” Tesla asks its employees to sign arbitration agreements in order to keep workplace issues out of court, but that her agreement is invalid due to its “unconscionable” conditions.
Barraza stated that she is on medical leave as a result of a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
(Adapted from FlipBoard.com)