A female employee of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) called the automaker’s Fremont factory a “predator zone” of harassment in a meeting attended by dozens of employees, according to a report in The Guardian via The Verge.
Other female employees also raised similar concerns, mentioning unsafe feeling around male managers, and sexist comments by their superiors, the report states.
AJ Vandermeyden, a former Tesla engineer, is suing the electric automaker for discrimination and sexual harassment. She said that her firing was retaliation for raising concerns about workplace conditions.
The suit alleges that Vandermeyden and other female employees at Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) were denied promotions, paid less than their male peers and retaliated for raising their concerns.
The town hall meeting wasn’t attended by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, but the billionaire later sent an email to the company’s staff, according to The Guardian, which was able to view the email.
“If you are part of a less represented group, you don’t get a free pass on being a jerk yourself. We have had a few cases at Tesla where someone in a less represented group was actually given a job or promoted over more qualified highly represented candidates and then decided to sue Tesla for millions of dollars because they felt they weren’t promoted enough. That is obviously not cool,” Musk said in his email.
Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has rejected the claims made by Vandermeyden and other female employees.
“Employees stood up to ask the executives questions, share their experiences at Tesla — both positive and negative — while others spoke of things that they believed Tesla was doing right and some came with suggestions,” a spokesperson said. “In some instances, employees were only looking for better collaboration with their HR business partners in general and had nothing to do with any allegations of harassment.”
Meanwhile, shares of Tesla closed up 1.42% on Friday. The stock is up more than 46% so far this year.