A report by the Washington Post is detailing the lawsuit being brought against Tesla by a worker at its Fremont factory. Jessica Barraza, who has been working as a production associate on the Model 3, alleges a string of sexual harassment incidents suffered while working at the California automaker.
Barraza told the Post that coworkers often hurled vulgar comments about her appearance and was allegedly propositioned via text by someone in a supervisory lead role. It is also claimed that inappropriate touching occurred during work hours at the plant. The suit states that harassment in some form is said to have happened on almost a daily basis, triggering anxiety and forcing a medical leave.
It is suggested in the report that Barraza tried to bring her concerns to Tesla HR, filing complaints earlier this year but hearing only crickets. Compounding the problem, she says, is the tendency of Elon Musk himself to deploy an infantile nature in some of his tweets. As an example, Barraza point out the tweet he scripted on October 29 this year, where he put forth the name of a new university: Texas Institute of Technology & Science.
Am thinking of starting new university:
Texas Institute of Technology & Science
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 29, 2021
It doesn’t take much imagination to deduce this thinly veiled joke, given the acronym that would result from such a name. This was then followed by precious declarations by Musk that such a place would have ‘epic merch’ and be ‘universally admired’. It is suggested in the suit that this type of behavior likely emboldened some of Barraza’s harassers on the factory floor.
A supposed arbitration clause, which is apparently part of agreements signed when one takes a job at Tesla, makes lawsuits such as these rare birds. However, the company was recently compelled to fork out $137 million to a person named Owen Diaz who was found to be subjected to racial harassment at the same Fremont factory in which Barraza is alleging sexual harassment. It has been noted by other sources that Diaz was a contractor and potentially not obligated to sign the mythical arbitration agreement.
Even with such documents, it’s hardly Musk’s first brush with lawyers. Readers will recall the Tesla boss found himself in hot water after tweeting he would take the company private at a stock price of $420 per share and suggesting funding was secured. It turned out nothing of the sort, with only preliminary talks being on the table. Securities fraud charges soon appeared, and the matter was settled in September 2018 with Musk stepping down as Tesla chair and agreeing to have his public communications (such as tweets) vetted by the company.
That hasn’t stopped the man from mashing buttons on Twitter, of course, proven by the sample shown above. In fact, the SEC has taken Musk to task a number of times for tweets ranging in topic from how many cars Tesla expected to make in a calendar year to solar roof delivery numbers. For its part, Tesla responded on at least one occasion by saying the words were merely Musk’s opinion. And don’t forget: October this year isn’t the first time Musk has played with acronyms, baiting the SEC by suggesting an alternate description of its own name.
SEC, three letter acronym, middle word is Elon’s
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 2, 2020
Think the lawyers vetted that one?
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