Tesla employees are subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, a new California lawsuit claimed.
Jessica Barraza filed a complaint in the California Superior Court in Alameda County against Tesla, alleging she experienced near-daily harassment with minimal punishment for the other employees. She's seeking unspecified compensatory damages, including but not limited to lost back pay, equity, fringe benefits, future lost earnings, emotional distress, and awards for the cost of the suit, along with injunctive relief.
"Although Tesla publicly claims it fosters a safe and respectful environment for its workers, the truth is that for years, Tesla has subjected women working in its Fremont plant to nightmarish conditions of rampant sexual harassment," the lawsuit said.
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Barraza, who previously worked as a production associate on the Model 3, claimed in the suit that male workers at the company regularly brushed up against her backside or would "unnecessarily touch her under the pretext of working together in close quarters."
Male coworkers also described Barraza in derogatory terms, saying she had a "fat a**" or that she looked like a "Coke bottle," the filing added.
In August, when Barraza asked a coworker who regularly stared at her chest to stop, her supervisor said, "Maybe you shouldn't wear shirts that draw attention to your chest," the lawsuit said. At the time, she was wearing a work shirt provided by Tesla — the same one supplied to all other employees at the plant, Barraza said.
Another incident occurred Sept. 28 when a man sneaked up behind her and placed a leg between her thighs as she clocked in, the lawsuit said.
While Barraza filed complaints to Tesla's human resources team in September and October, it was unclear whether those employees received or responded to those complaints, according to the court documents.
Barraza told the Washington Post the alleged harassment "robs your sense of security. It almost dehumanizes you."
The former employee's filing inspired other employees at Tesla to speak out as well, reporting similar conditions at other factories, according to the outlet.
Lawsuits against Tesla have been rare because the company requires employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements, which force any settlements to be resolved outside of court.
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The suit comes a month after a judge ordered Tesla to pay almost $137 million to a former employee who alleged racial abuse from coworkers.
Tesla did not respond to requests for comment from the Washington Examiner.