A Tesla worker is suing the company after receiving almost daily sexual harassment while working there. Furthermore, despite having reported the situation to his supervisors and the human resources department, he received no help.
As reported The Washington PostJessica Barraza, 38, a production associate who works on the Tesla Model 3, sued the electric car company on Thursday, November 18, citing sexual harassment and a failure to prevent sexual harassment under the law.
Jessica Barraza had only been at her job at the Tesla factory for a few months when she began experiencing harassment. The work environment became so hostile that it made her anxious, leading her to take medical leave with a diagnosis of PTSD.
“After almost three years of experiencing all the harassment, it robs you of your sense of security, it almost dehumanizes you,” Barraza told The Washington Post, a medium that had access to the lawsuit documents completed in September and October of this year.
The worker declared having suffered disgusting and outrageous treatment from her co-workers. They made inappropriate and vulgar comments about her body, touched her without her consent (rubbing her butt several times a week), and a supervisor made a text message to her, all at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California.
In the lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of California in Alameda County under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, Barraza claims that a co-worker lifted her by the waist, “pressing her torso below her breasts.” placing her next to him.
In another instance, a coworker stuck his leg between her thighs as she returned from lunch (another employee corroborated the incident with The Washington Post). That was the last straw for Barraza and he decided to take action.
In the documents, Barraza claims that there is “rampant sexual harassment at Tesla” and “nightmarish conditions.” He also mentions that the workplace “looks more like a brute, archaic frat house or construction site than a cutting edge company in the heart of the progressive San Francisco Bay area.”
His claims were backed up by several other employees at the Tesla site, who told The Washington Post who were witnesses to several of the incidents described by Barraza. However, this situation is not found only in that factory, as other people who have worked at Tesla have filed their own statements elsewhere.
Alisa Blickman, 33, said the same patterns are true at the nearby Tesla seating factory where she works, also in Fremont. She said she witnessed how male workers used “the number system” to rate the attractiveness of their female colleagues.
“I don’t know if it’s the 12 hour shifts that affect these guys or what it is, they just act like they never saw girls there or something. You really feel like a piece of meat in there, ”said Blickman, who filed a complaint with human resources, which was seen by The Washington Post. She is currently on a COVID-19 related license, but is still employed by Tesla.
On the other hand, Nallely Gamboa, a former Tesla production associate, said she alerted senior executives to the harassment at the factory and resigned after the behavior did not stop.
“Being a woman working at Tesla was very uncomfortable when it came to male associates, supervisors and leaders. I have seen it with my own eyes and I experienced it myself ”, said the worker.
He mentions that in some cases it was women who perpetuated the harassment. She mentioned that, in one instance, she was working on a task when she felt something between her thighs. It was a broomstick, brandished by a colleague, who found the action funny.
Gamboa says she spoke to a supervisor about the incident and was eventually transferred to work in another part of the factory, which was a common pattern for those who complained of sexual harassment, according to several Tesla employees.
This culture has been especially promulgated among male-dominated production teams who, according to several workers, prey on new hires as if they were “fresh meat” (as Barraza describes) by engaging in verbal and physical harassment. It was this behavior that led some women to take extended leave and others to quit altogether.
According to Barraza, the complaints handed over to supervisors have not been addressed. In one case, a supervisor overheard her complaining that a coworker who was looking at her breasts said, “Maybe you shouldn’t wear shirts that draw attention to your chest,” to which Barraza replied that he was “wearing a shirt. of work provided by Tesla “.
Barraza also stresses that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has helped foster and generate this culture that denigrates women in the company. She quoted a tweet that Musk jokingly made referring to a university he planned to start: the Texas Institute of Technology and Science (whose acronym would be TITS, for “boobs” in English).
Am thinking of starting new university:
Texas Institute of Technology & amp; Science
& mdash; Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 29, 2021
“That’s not a good example for the factory, it almost gives an impression of …” (Elon) is tweeting about it, so it’s something that’s okay, “Barraza said. “It is not fair to me, to my family, or to other women who work there.”
According to employees, internal disputes rarely come to light and lawsuits are rare because Tesla requires many workers to sign binding arbitration agreements, which require disputes to be resolved out of court. Barraza’s lawyers say the agreement is “illegal and unenforceable.”
Three current and former Tesla workers corroborated aspects of Barraza’s accounts to The Washington Post, who witnessed incidents reported by the plaintiff or experienced sexual harassment at Tesla’s Fremont facility, describing this culture as male-led, retaliatory, and unwelcoming to women.
The attorneys are seeking compensation for Barraza along with a court order to stop the harassment at the factory. Additionally, they said they plan to file a California Private Lawyers General Law claim, allowing Barraza and other potential victims to recover civil penalties.
Barraza’s lawsuit comes a month after Tesla was ordered to pay nearly $ 137 million to an employee who was subjected to racist abuse, discrimination and harassment at the Fremont plant, according to federal court. In the lawsuit, a former elevator operator, Owen Diaz, said he faced a hostile work environment at Tesla that involved “daily racist epithets,” such as the N word.