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Tesla workers allege ‘pervasive sexual harassment’ in lawsuit

Female staff at TeslaThe Fremont plant in California faces “pervasive sexual harassment,” according to the lawsuit filed Thursday. In a complaint filed in the state Superior Court in Alameda County, Jessica Barraza, 38, a Tesla manufacturing associate, said she has been subjected to “horrific” working conditions for the past three years. Barraza’s lawsuit describes a factory floor that looks more like “an ancient rudimentary construction site or an old house” than an advanced electric vehicle production site.

Barraza’s allegations against Tesla are numerous. In one lawsuit, the lawsuit alleges a male colleague clamped his foot between her thighs as she lunged at her after her lunch break. Amid the harassment, Barraza said her complaints fell on deaf ears. In one example, she said a supervisor did nothing when she complained about a coworker staring at her breasts. “You probably shouldn’t wear tops that draw attention to your breasts,” her supervisor told her, according to the suit. Barraza told the man she was “wearing a Tesla-supplied business shirt.”

“After almost three years of going through all the harassment, it took away your sense of security — it almost dehumanized you,” Barraza said in an interview with washington articles, was the first outlet to report on the lawsuit. We have reached out to Tesla for comment. The company usually does not respond to media inquiries. It closed its main press office in 2020.

The lawsuit comes a month after Tesla was ordered by a federal court paid $137 million to a black employee who reported being subjected to racist abuse on a daily basis at the factory in Fremont. “We continue to grow and improve the way we address employee concerns,” the company said at the time. “Sometimes, we’ll do something wrong, and when that happens, we have to take responsibility.” Tesla is appealing the award.

Tesla isn’t the only electric-car maker accused of building a toxic workplace for women. Just days before the IPO, Rivian has sued by Laura Schwab, one of its former executives. In her lawsuit, Schwab alleges the automaker fired her after she complained about a “toxic” culture “that kept her out of meetings and more. “The culture at Rivian is truly the worst I’ve experienced in over 20 years in the auto industry.

Barraza said Tesla’s human resources department did not address the complaints she filed in September and October, even disabling the email address to receive complaints.

Barraza is seeking damages and punitive damages for violating California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

She also said that like many “tech employers,” Tesla requires many workers to sign arbitration agreements that prevent workplace disputes from happening in court, but the “unconscionable” provision. in her agreement made it unenforceable.

Barraza said she is on medical leave prescribed by her doctor, with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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