Ex-employee sues Tesla for allegedly firing hundreds of employees without notice
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Ex-employee sues Tesla for allegedly firing hundreds of employees without notice


Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A recently terminated Tesla employee claims the company broke California law when it let hundreds of workers go in what it claims were performance-related firings. 

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Abraham Duarte alleges that employees were not given the proper forewarning required by state law, Jalopnik first reported. California’s WARN act compels businesses to provide at least 60 days notice before laying off more than 50 workers.

But Tesla maintains that the workers — who numbered between 400 and 1,200 by various accounts — were not laid off but fired for poor performance reviews, and thus not subject to the regulation.

Duarte’s lawyer doesn’t buy this defense. The lawsuit claims Tesla “acted intentionally and with deliberate indifference” and ignored Duarte’s allegedly strong performance record.

Tesla declined to comment on the suit and deferred to the rationale it gave at the time of the alleged firings.

“Like all companies, Tesla conducts an annual performance review during which a manager and employee discuss the results that were achieved, as well as how those results were achieved, during the performance period,” a Tesla spokesperson said in its previous statement. 

The company offered a similar explanation when it dismissed hundreds more employees from SolarCity this week. But at least six anonymous employees told CNBC that no performance reviews had been conducted since Tesla acquired the solar tech company.

The abrupt firings come as Tesla struggles to put together its first batch of Model 3 sedans after falling short of promised deadlines. CEO Elon Musk has said the process has descended into “production hell”

Duarte’s lawyer is applying for class-action status and, if approved, plans to ask for two months of pay for every affected employee, according to Jalopnik.

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October 26, 2017
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