Six more women currently or formerly working with Tesla have filed lawsuit against the company claiming that they were sexually harassed by fellow employees and the senior management failed to take any action. The lawsuits are over its "frat house" culture where sexual harassment was allegedly rife.
This now takes the total lawsuits against the electric carmaker to seven after Jessica Barraza, 38, sued the tech company last month over its "nightmarish conditions" for women at its San Francisco Bay Area factory and a Southern California service center. Separately, a former engineer at SpaceX, another Elon Musk-led company, published a blogpost earlier today detailing her experiences of sexual harassment at the aerospace firm.
Dark Side of Tesla
The new lawsuits, filed in Alameda County Superior Court on Tuesday, claim that female staff were constantly harassed by male coworkers, who allegedly would touch them inappropriately, ogle at their bodies and making lewd comments. The behavior got even worse after CEO Elon Musk posted childish or sexual tweets, according o the court papers.
The six new women who have sued Tesla are Michaela Curran, Alize Brown, Jessica Brooks, Alisa Blickman, Samira Sheppard and Eden Mederos. "Tesla has failed to take sexual harassment seriously, from the top of the company down," David A. Lowe, the attorney for the six women said in a statement.
"Although Tesla publicly claims that it fosters a safe and respectful environment for its workers, the truth is that for years Tesla has subjected women working in its Fremont factory facilities to nightmarish conditions of rampant sexual harassment," the opening paragraph of each of the six lawsuits read.
One of the women, a 21-year-old new mom, sharing her ordeal in the lawsuit mentions that she would go home in tears most nights and described the atmosphere at a "living nightmare."
Several others also claimed that when informed their supervisors about the harassment, the supervisor either turned a deaf ear or simply transferred them to another work station. Others said they were too afraid to report the harassment to Human Resources because their supervisors were part of the problem.
According to the Washington Post, one woman Jessica Brooks, who also works at the 53 million square foot factory in Fremont, in her lawsuit, claims that the harassment was so extreme that she stacked boxes around her work station to deter men from ogling and whistling at her.
She claims that she was compelled to buy flannel shirts at a thrift store to tie around her waist in an effort to conceal her backside as men in the factory would ogle at her. "I was so tired of the unwanted attention and the males gawking at me, I proceeded to create barriers around me just so I could get some relief," she told the outlet.
Another female worker, Eden Mederos, who started working at a Tesla service center in the Los Angeles area in 2016, claimed that simple acts like eating a banana or using a spoon resulted in men making lewd comparisons.
The six new lawsuits accompanied by the numerous stories of sexual harassment at Tesla's different facilities come just a day after Musk was named the person of the year by Time Magazine. In October, Tesla was ordered to pay $137 million to a Black employee who had sued the automaker for racial discrimination.
The lawsuits also mention how Musk's tweets sometimes would worsen the work environment. One woman Mederos, 31, said that every time Musk would tweet something lewd such as jokes about sexual positions or creating a Texas Institute of Technology & Science - with the acronym TITS â men at the factories would feel encouraged to sexually harass female employees.
Lowe, a partner at the San Francisco law firm Rudy, Exelrod and Lowe, who is representing the six women in their lawsuits, said he is trying to address 'a shocking pattern of harassment that exists at Tesla. The company is yet to comment on the allegations.