January 17, 2022

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Tesla subjects women to ‘sexual harassment,’ lawsuit says

Tesla Inc.’s female employees face “rampant sexual harassment,” according to a lawsuit by a woman who works in the electric carmaker’s Fremont, California, factory.

Jessica Barraza, 38, said in a complaint filed Thursday in state court in Oakland that she experienced “nightmarish” conditions as a night-shift worker at Tesla, with co-workers and supervisors making lewd comments and gestures to her and other women multiple times a week. When she complained to supervisors and human resources, they failed to take action, Barraza says.

She suffers from panic attacks as a result of three years of such behavior and “is afraid to return to work knowing that her body could be violated at any time with no repercussions,” the complaint says. “She is on medication and in therapy, and she is not the same person she used to be.”

Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Barraza’s suit was reported earlier by The Washington Post.

The case comes as Tesla is already facing a staggering $137 million verdict in favor of another worker who said he experienced pervasive racism at the Fremont factory. Tesla is now appealing that award.

A juror in that case told Bloomberg News that the panel hoped to prod Tesla executives to “take the most basic preventative measures and precautions they neglected to take as a large corporation to protect any employee within their factory.”