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Tesla accused of 'massive sexual harassment' in new worker lawsuit

Tesla accused of 'massive sexual harassment' in new worker lawsuit

An employee at Tesla's factory in Fremont, California, is accusing the automaker of creating a hostile work environment where sexual harassment was "pervasive." As first reported by The Washington Post, Jessica Barazza, who was hired as a production associate in 2018, said in a lawsuit filed this week that she faced persistent harassment at the factory, including Catcalling and inappropriate physical touch were included.

"Almost every day for three years, my female coworkers and I were objectified, bullied, touched and proposed on the factory floor," Barraza said in a statement emailed to The Verge. “I wanted to come to work, do my job, and support my family without having to endure constant sexual harassment. I felt humiliated, humiliated and hurt."

The complaint, filed in California Superior Court, alleges that the Fremont plant's supervisors and managers were not only aware of a "pervasive culture of sexual harassment" that included sexist language and physical groping, but that the ongoing Participated in abusive behavior. Barrazza reported the issues to Tesla's human resources department, which it says failed to protect him.

The Fremont plant is where Tesla manufactures its Model S, Model 3, Model X and Model Y electric vehicles. In October, the company was ordered to pay $137 million to a former contractor at the Fremont plant who alleged that he was subjected to racial harassment as part of a hostile work environment.

According to Barraza's complaint, walking by her workstation during a workday, she heard comments from men commenting on the size of her "coke bottle" and making comments about her body, including a "fat ass". was also involved. And the "onion plunder" was involved. The complaint alleges that male coworkers would "brush against Ms. Baraza's back (including her waist) or unnecessarily touch her under the pretext of working together."

In September, Baraza started having panic attacks. She is currently on doctor-ordered medical leave from her job and is being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.

"Tesla's factory floor more closely resembles a crude, archaic construction site or frat house than a state-of-the-art company in the heart of the progressive San Francisco Bay Area," the lawsuit states.

Lawsuits against Tesla are relatively rare because, as stated in Barazza's lawsuit, the company requires employees to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of employment, which means that workers cannot stand trial by jury or court. can not cope. give up his rights.

But the Fremont factory has been identified as a "victim zone" of harassment in at least one other lawsuit. In 2017, now-former Tesla engineer AJ Vandermeiden sued Tesla for "unfair and widespread harassment", alleging that he and other female employees were denied promotions and paid less than their male colleagues. it was done. And when they reached out to Human Resources with their concerns, they faced retaliation. VanderMadden was fired a few months after Tesla made its claims public.

Barraza's lawsuit describes both verbal and physical harassment, along with other female employees. She told The Washington Post in an interview that the culture of harassment comes straight from the top, citing a tweet from CEO Elon Musk joking about a school that included a crude acronym. What will happen. Musk himself is not named in the lawsuit.

"It doesn't set a good example for the factory - it's almost like it... 'He's tweeting about it, it should be fine,'" Barrazza told the Post. "It's not fair to me, to my family, to the other women who work there."

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment from The Verge on Friday. The company disbanded its press office and rarely responded to requests from the media. Barraza is seeking compensation, including lost pay, and an injunction to end harassment at the Fremont plant. Her attorneys also plan to file claims under the California Private Attorney General Act on behalf of Barraza and the other women, who allege they were harassed at the factory.

"Tesla is responsible for the systemic sexual harassment occurring at its factory," Barraza's attorney David A. Lowe said in a statement to The Verge. "We are bringing this matter to stop the harassment against Ms. Barraza and her associates."

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