Tesla employee sues for ‘nightmarish’ harassment

Image credit: Deccan Herald

According to a lawsuit filed by a female employee, female workers at Tesla’s Fremont factory in California experience “nightmarish” conditions of pervasive sexual harassment.

Jessica Barraza, a manufacturing worker who worked night shifts, said she was subjected to “near-daily” catcalls and unwanted groping.

Ms Barraza is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages from the firm. Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment. She claimed the Washington Post that male coworkers would often approach her, gawk at her breasts, characterise her as having an onion booty or Coke bottle, and rub up against her body while claiming it was an accident.

A man once picked her up and wrapped his arms around her torso. In another, a man slipped his leg between Ms Barraza’s thighs as she clocked in after her lunch break, prompting her to take action, according to her.

Tesla, according to Ms Barraza, promoted a sexual harassment culture. She claims she filed two complaints in September and October, but that neither of the issues she presented was resolved.

The mother of two, 38, is now on medical leave. Tesla, like many other tech companies, compelled employees to sign arbitration agreements, keeping workplace issues out of court, according to Ms Barraza. However, she claimed that the agreement was unenforceable because of unconscionable conditions.

Several additional workers, according to the Washington Post, corroborated Ms Barraza’s storey.

Tesla was sentenced to pay $137 million to Owen Diaz, an African-American employee at the Fremont facility, last month for failing to prevent him from being abused.

A San Francisco court determined that Mr Diaz, who worked as a lift operator from 2015 to 2016, was subjected to a racially hostile work environment.

Tesla contested the decision but acknowledged that it was far from flawless. The company had made progress since 2016, according to the report, including the installation of an employee relations division dedicated to examining concerns.

According to Mr Diaz’s lawsuit, African-American workers at the electric carmaker’s Fremont factory “encountered a scene straight from the Jim Crow era, including racial name-calling and racist graffiti in restrooms.”

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