Another former Tesla factory worker has come forward with a lawsuit against the car manufacturer, accusing them of doing nothing regarding alleged bullying and threats of violence from supervisors, then retaliating against him by firing him after he reported that harassment. Jorge Ferro, who worked on the assembly line at Tesla's Fremont factory, also alleges that he was targeted for harassment by his supervisors because he's gay, and that many of the threats made against him were based on that fact.
In the Guardian's report on the lawsuit, they write that Ferro's supervisor allegedly said, "Watch your back," and that they mocked his clothes for being "gay tight." Then, Ferro said that after he reported the harassment to a manager the first time, nothing happened. But after the second time, Ferro said that someone from HR took his badge away from him, allegedly saying he had an "injury" and that there's "no place for handicapped people at Tesla."
A Tesla spokesperson responded to the allegations, saying that naming Tesla was a play at publicity. According to the Chronicle, they said, "Every lawyer knows that if they name Tesla as a defendant in their lawsuit, it maximizes the chances of generating publicity for their case. There is no company on Earth with a better track record than Tesla, as they would have to have fewer than zero cases where an independent judge or jury has found a genuine case of discrimination. This is physically impossible."
Of course, if you've been paying attention to any of the recent news about Tesla, then you'll know that there are at least three other lawsuits alleging racially motivated harassment and hostile working conditions at the company. One lawsuit alleges that three former factory workers, all of whom are black, were subject to racial epithets, along with one instance of a supervisor drawing and displaying a Jim Crow-era racist caricature. According to NBC Bay Area, a company spokesperson responded to those allegations in a similarly disappointing manner, saying, "We will never be able to stop every single person in the factory from engaging in inappropriate conduct, but we will continue to do everything that we can to encourage the right behavior and to take action whenever something bad happens." One of the workers went on to allege that after complaining, he started to receive poor performance reviews, which resulted in him leaving the company.
That suit followed on a similar one brought by the same attorney on behalf of another former factory employee earlier this year.
Another lawsuit from a female engineer alleges that the company paid her a lower salary because of her gender, and that she was constantly exposed to a culture of "unwelcome and pervasive harassment by men on the factory floor including but not limited to inappropriate language, whistling, and catcalls." In her case, a Tesla spokesperson said that a "neutral third-party review" found her claims to be unsubstantiated.
The company says that they "still stepped in to try to keep these individuals apart from one another and to ensure a good working environment." But moving Ferro was "perceived by many to be retaliatory," says Ferro's attorney, Chris Dolan, who spoke with The Guardian about the suit. "It sends a message to other employees that if you complain, you’re the one who’s going to have your job changed. In essence, you’re penalizing the party who’s making the complaint."