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Tesla Hit With Another Lawsuit, This Time Alleging Anti-LGBT Harassment (theverge.com) 160

Earlier this week, Tesla was hit with a lawsuit for racial harassment in its factories. Now, a newer lawsuit has been filed against the company alleging anti-LGBT harassment. An anonymous reader shares a report from The Verge: A former employee at Tesla's Fremont factory filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the electric carmaker, alleging he was fired in retaliation after seeking protection from anti-gay harassment, The Guardian reported today. The defendant, an assembly line worker named Jorge Ferro, claims he was taunted for being gay and threatened with violence. "Watch your back," one supervisor told him after mocking his "gay tight" clothing, the paper said. After complaining to an HR representative, Ferro was repeatedly moved to different assembly lines, but the harassment didn't stop. Ultimately, HR told him there was "no place for handicapped people at Tesla" after noticing an old scar on his wrist, according to The Guardian. He was sent home, and eventually terminated. In a strongly worded statement to the paper, Tesla denied the allegations and defended itself against the charges. "There is no company on earth with a better track record than Tesla," a spokesperson said.
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Tesla Hit With Another Lawsuit, This Time Alleging Anti-LGBT Harassment

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  • Payback (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Another lawsuit generated by the unions who hate all successful businesses that don't pony up the cash.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Well, possibly. On the other hand, if "successful businesses" were treating their workers right, there would be no unions. This one, the capitalists caused themselves.

  • You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kierthos ( 225954 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @08:24AM (#55402961) Homepage

    If the company HR was stupid enough to fire him because he was "handicapped", that's a different lawsuit entirely.

    • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @08:30AM (#55402999)

      no place for handicapped people is not just a law suit that is a labor law issue as well.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20, 2017 @09:05AM (#55403189)

        This is NOT something ANY HR person in the COUNTRY would say. And if they did, those fuckers need to burn in the fiery pits while having the company president publicly kick them in the ass repeatedly.

        These fucking stories just hitting right as Tesla is offering a lower cost car seems very god damn suspect. And all of them are around SJW trigger keywords. The type of shit where it doesn't matter whether there's any truth behind them. The public (morons) will lap it up and turn rabid at each announcement.

        It's entirely possible I'm wrong, but it just seems really, ridiculously suspect that all this supposed harassment has been happening all this time and just NOW it's coming out.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I've met some pretty stupid (smart?) HR folks when it comes to discrimination. When it comes to outright insulting you and making you feel insecure in your job, they'll say the most asinine things -- things that would get anyone else fired -- as long as there are no witnesses. I learned a long time ago to record any conversations I have with HR.

          That said, even I'm having trouble believing this.

          • Indeed. I think this is going to turn out to be a merit-less lawsuit once all the facts are heard. We'll see.

          • by Rei ( 128717 )

            For me, it was at least plausible until:

            Ultimately, HR told him there was “no place for handicapped people at Tesla” after noticing an old scar on his wrist, according to The Guardian.

            I don't even.... huh? How does that even make sense? It might make some sense if the person had been repeatedly marked down for low productivity in activities involving their hands, and then some manager decided that the person just couldn't do the job and credited the scar as being associated for the reason why.

        • One problem a rapidly-growing company has is hiring large numbers of people without being able to adequately weed out incompetents, problem-makers, and assholes. It seems here that both the HR person and the ex-employee should never have been hired.

          Consider yourself in the position of the ex-employee. If you're told your clothing is unsuitable to the workplace, do you wear different clothes or continue wearing objectionable clothing? If you have an ugly scar on your wrist do you wear a long-sleeved shirt to

        • by Hylandr ( 813770 )

          It's DeLorean 2.0

          • DeLoean couldn't find customers at the time. They'd already become bankrupt before Back To The Future came out.

            Tesla on the other hand has an order book stretching out years in advance.

            So no, not the same at all.

        • This is NOT something ANY HR person in the COUNTRY would say. And if they did, those fuckers need to burn in the fiery pits while having the company president publicly kick them in the ass repeatedly.

          These fucking stories just hitting right as Tesla is offering a lower cost car seems very god damn suspect.

          Get mad all you want, but this type of allegation happens to every large company. You just typically don't hear about it because the media could care less or the claimants don't see that publicity would help their case. But when it is Tesla, the media will be all over it and the claimants will try to use that to their advantage. Tesla's biggest problem is their place in the media spotlight, a place Musk seems to want them to be in.

        • It was no coincidence that the same week Taser went public, they were hit with a lawsuit over accidental deaths.

          Follow the money to frauds and lawyers and politicians. Someone wants money.

      • The Guardian (why not just link to the source, instead of an article about the article?) elaborates:

        The harassment didnâ(TM)t stop after he reported it to a manager, and days after he made a second complaint, Ferro was punished, according to his account. An HR representative took away Ferroâ(TM)s badge, claiming that he had an âoeinjuryâ that prevented him from working and saying thereâ(TM)s âoeno place for handicapped people at Teslaâ, he alleged.

        If that it true then there should be some hard evidence, i.e. documentation of the reason he was fired. Tesla could be in real trouble if it turns out to be true.

        • by Khyber ( 864651 )

          "If that it true then there should be some hard evidence, i.e. documentation of the reason he was fired."

          The whole purpose of HR is to lie and act as a cover-up entity for corporations. Good luck finding hard evidence there unless the HR people are just seriously incompetent.

        • If that it true then there should be some hard evidence, i.e. documentation of the reason he was fired. Tesla could be in real trouble if it turns out to be true.

          Not necessarily. The guy was working on assembly lines.
          i.e.: a physical job, that requires physical fitness.

          Tesla could actually get into real trouble in the case that the guy was improperly hired and then hurt himself due to doing a physical job for which he was unfit.

          If the guy did lie back when he was hired (e.g.: provided a bogus medical certificate) to hide his disability, and it happened to only be discovered now, Tesla would be in their right to fire him.

          Again keep in mind that we're not speaking abo

        • The harassment didnâ...

          Article writer Scottish.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Assembly line workers at automotive factories aren't much like Slashdot readers. So why highlight this news story to Slashdot readers?

    • Well, just offhand, I would say it's because the story submission validation does not rely on pleasing a random Anonymous Coward.

      Also, that this involves a Tesla factory, and a huge discrimination lawsuit, coming on the heels of other discrimination lawsuits might have an adverse effect on the company's bottom line, stock value, and ability to produce electric cars.

      But hey, whatever floats your boat.

    • To remind people living in a high tech fantasy land that in a functioning society some people have to do actual work? Hope it wasn't too much of a shock.
    • A case study in what happens when someone tries to run a manufacturing company as if its a software startup.
  • Mmmm Hmmmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jahoda ( 2715225 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @08:27AM (#55402981) Homepage
    So, the assertion here is that the HR department of _tesla_ told him that there was no room for disabled people at the company. If you're going to lie, try and make it plausible.
    • Re:Mmmm Hmmmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @08:32AM (#55403011) Homepage

      Yeah. That one just doesn't make any sense. You can induce a panic attack in an HR professional just by saying those three letters (ADA).

      Although it makes for a nice juicy pleading. Suspiciously so in fact.

      • What just because the ADA is like a Legendary Dragon in Skyrim??

        and most companies can only afford Steel Armour??

        yep brushing up against the ADA is like whistling for Meeko and getting a Dire Wolf (with a pack of werewolves behind him)

        • Could you rephrase that into a car analogy so us non-basement dwellers could understand?

          • okay try this

            most companies are running about in SmartCars the ADA is like a long haul TRAIN

            most of the time its a full bore MythBusters RocketSled V Car "What Car??" type thing

            a clip for you
            https://youtu.be/aSVfYwdGSsQ?t... [youtu.be]

            businesses have been closed over ramps being an inch to high or other trivial things

      • Re:Mmmm Hmmmm. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo&world3,net> on Friday October 20, 2017 @09:26AM (#55403319) Homepage Journal

        The Guardian has more detail:

        The harassment didnâ(TM)t stop after he reported it to a manager, and days after he made a second complaint, Ferro was punished, according to his account. An HR representative took away Ferroâ(TM)s badge, claiming that he had an âoeinjuryâ that prevented him from working and saying thereâ(TM)s âoeno place for handicapped people at Teslaâ, he alleged.

        So maybe the HR person said that, it will probably be impossible to prove, but if he was fired for having an injury (presumably on the grounds that it prevented him from doing his job) they are still quite likely to be in serious trouble. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a copy of the lawsuit available anywhere.

        We should find out if this has merit pretty quickly because if there is no evidence it will get dismissed.

    • Re:Mmmm Hmmmm. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Kierthos ( 225954 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @08:46AM (#55403085) Homepage

      Depends on the HR droid in question.

      Okay, I work for a small company, right? We have one HR guy. To the best of my knowledge, he does not have a college degree in a field that would lend itself to HR.

      The previous HR person we had was an Anthropology major. The HR person we had before that was... I'm not actually sure what qualifications they had.

      Now, yes, it's unlikely that a company as large as Tesla would have a bone-stupid, incompetent HR department. That is, the entire department. But it's possible that in an otherwise competent HR department, they have one guy who is shit at his job. Or maybe he just said the wrong thing. Because, clearly, no intelligent person has ever stuck their foot in their mouth.

      Now, if they're smart, they'll settle these cases. Continued bad press scares investors.

    • Yeah, it's time to play another round of Lying Terminated Employee or Shitty HR Department? Most folks have already decided, but we don't really know which it is yet.

  • by WheezyJoe ( 1168567 ) <fegg.excite@com> on Friday October 20, 2017 @08:55AM (#55403133)

    On the one hand, if these allegations are true, heads should damn roll.

    On the other, Tesla is a great target for a he-said-he-said lawsuit. High profile, lots of cash, great timing right before the make-or-break moment where they have to make good on their affordable cars before GM and the other old guys power into the market [wired.com].

    Tesla's got to be a pressure-cooker company right now to get that production up. But if floor management is creating problems like this, there's a huge incentive to for senior management to give a beat-down to the floor managers. No workers, no Tesla 3's, no Tesla... and there goes Elon Musk puttering around dog-faced in a Bolt [washingtonpost.com].

    Who the fuck to believe. To my knowledge, these Tesla things are not sticking like the way they stuck on Uber [nymag.com]. But who the fuck knows... news and lawsuits are full of bullshit these days, it's not easy to know truth from some Russian kid with a smartphone masquerading as a Texan [arktimes.com]. All that's reliably true is Tesla has money, and any cheap-suit lawyer would see an opportunity to make a quick settlement out of them, rather than risk more bad press and production delays as they try like mad to make their delivery date [fortune.com].

    • This was the first thing that sprang to my mind when I read that he claims he was fired for being disabled and HR thinking he couldn't do the job he was fired for. Tesla being in very busy with getting their first proper volume production car into full production also gives this thing more than a whiff of someone trying shake them down for a settlement rather than a real grievance. The U.S may have lax worker protection laws compared to western Europe, but if there's one thing they do protect workers on the
    • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

      To my knowledge, these Tesla things are not sticking like the way they stuck on Uber [nymag.com].

      Everybody likes Elon Musk. Nobody likes Travis Kalanick. It can be as simple as that.

    • Tesla's got to be a pressure-cooker company right now to get that production up. But if floor management is creating problems like this, there's a huge incentive to for senior management to give a beat-down to the floor managers. No workers, no Tesla 3's, no Tesla... and there goes Elon Musk puttering around dog-faced in a Bolt [washingtonpost.com].

      I'd agree, but I've yet to see senior management ever take up the workers cause over other management even when it is obviously hurting the company. HR pretty much just admits they are only there to help management. That sometimes takes the form of risking a lawsuit by firing somebody who keeps notifying them that some manager keeps doing something illegal.

    • It sounds like this was a problem employee that Tesla tried moving to several groups, but the employee kept being a problem. Eventually Tesla figured they had done enough and terminated the problem.

    • if these allegations are true

      It shouldn't require a genius-level IQ to figure out that they are not.

  • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @09:08AM (#55403207)
    Granted these allegations may not be true or entirely honest; that is for the courts to decide. However, if they are true and Musk's business plan did not in fact include fair treatment of employees, unless he tuns a business taht doesn't need employees, then he isn't much of a business leader at all is he? Visionary perhaps, but business hack.
    • Just because shit happens on the production floor doesn't make you a business hack. It's a huge operation, and a man only has 24-hours in a day. The fact that he's motivated enough people to work and invest enough to create and operate both Tesla and Space-X marks him as a pretty incredible achiever. Have you accomplished this much? I sure as fuck haven't!

      That doesn't mean he shouldn't take responsibility for fixing problems going on in his factory. But again, give the man credit for at least having a

      • by G00F ( 241765 )

        I'm not Musk fanboy. But he's right in the fact his factories are in the US and not china.

        USA where lawsuits are taken up agaisnt companies as a gamble for big payoff where the merits of the lawsuits are weighed against the cost to fight. Where winning the battle is losing.

      • I guess that depends on whether you figure a business leader needs to be able to make a business work with human employees or not.
        • I think you're on to something. Often, the talent for new ideas and persuading investors to provide the money to build factories and hire workers is NOT the same as for motivating those workers, resolving disputes and making for a pleasant workplace. Maybe that's why sports team owners hire coaches to manage the players while they stay out of it except to cut checks and drink bourbon from the owner's box. Thing is, in sports, if the team loses the coach gets fired. In manufacturing, when trouble comes t

    • Granted these allegations may not be true or entirely honest; that is for the courts to decide. However, if they are true and Musk's business plan did not in fact include fair treatment of employees, unless he tuns a business taht doesn't need employees, then he isn't much of a business leader at all is he? Visionary perhaps, but business hack.

      That's a pretty big if. The allegations sound ludicrous.

      Anybody can make allegations.

      • This is part of Union Tactics 101.

        This accomplishes two things:

        (1) it makes good on union threats to hurt the business if the company continues to resist
        (2) it garners some support from workers that might otherwise vote against unionization

        The UAW did it to the place I work at. Now they are doing it to Tesla. This is what the UAW does. Those that think the UAW have only wormed their way into automobile manufacturers are completely ignorant. The UAW has even unionized casino table games dealers.
  • Remember, always remember that HR is NOT there to protect employees. HR where you work is NOT your friend, even if they say they are. They are not looking out for your interests, DON'T go to them unless you cannot help it.

    The primary purpose of an HR person is to keep the company from being successfully sued. Secondary to that is to keep the company from being sued. After that comes keeping employees safe and happy..

    If some HR person actually told a handicapped person this, they failed in their primary

    • Remember, always remember that HR is NOT there to protect employees.

      Wholeheartedly agree on that, found that out the hard way. HR is there to protect the company, not the employees.

      but I've never met one this stupid

      Agree again, but I get the feeling that a company like Tesla would not be hiring moron HR managers, which makes you wonder how much of this is actually true.

      I was working for a company and one of the developers was having a hard time at home, marriage issues, new born keeping him up at nigh

      • And sometimes it is HR...

        At a company ages ago, my boss desperately wanted to hire someone for IT network security who in the past had rather famously gotten in some legal hot water about being in possession of some AT&T Unix code.

        He fought HR over that for weeks. The HR drone finally said "You can keep fighting this, and you will probably win in the end. However, we can drag this process out for at least a year, maybe two. And we absolutely will drag it out for as long as we possibly can. Your call

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      One of the biggest management embarrassments I've ever been exposed to was when a previous employer hired an EVP for HR. After a couple of weeks on the job and some exposure to some extensive, dodgy personnel management decisions, the new EVP sent out a memo to all department heads requesting info on several categories of bad behaviors common at our company, noting that they put the company at risk, created ill will among employees and needed to be changed.

      About a day after that memo, the new EVP resigned.

  • All the time... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nealric ( 3647765 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @10:48AM (#55403893)

    Speaking as the spouse of an employment lawyer, public companies are hit by discrimination lawsuits all the time. The primary reason is that discrimination is the only cause of action most employees have if they feel they've been unjustly terminated. Even if they are really upset because they thought their boss unfairly evaluated their work, they may allege discrimination because they can't sue over anything else.

    In other words, I wouldn't make too much of this. People are only paying attention because it's Tesla.

    None of the above is to say that discrimination or harassment can't be a serious problem, and that the suits are never meritorious- just that the mere fact of the suit occurring doesn't mean much.

    • No kidding. There were 91,503 discrimination lawsuits filed in the US last year [eeoc.gov], but the fact that Tesla has 2 against it is news. I can't even...
    • Even if they are really upset because they thought their boss unfairly evaluated their work, they may allege discrimination because they can't sue over anything else.

      I've seen this happen first hand. We had a woman on our support team that was just plain incompetent. She was unable to understand how things worked, and would try to keep copious notes in the hopes that one of them would tell her what to do. Well, technical support doesn't work like that, you have to be able to actually use your brain and troubleshoot issues.

      After several months of not being able to handle any of the tasks given to her, she was fired for performance reasons. Shortly after she was gone

  • They aren't built to do mass market vehicles. They should just license the technology or outsource the manufacturing to somebody else and stick to the high end part of the business.
  • It seems awfully suspicious that when unions are trying to unionize Tesla, all of a sudden there's a bunch of barely credible lawsuits happening...

    • It seems awfully suspicious that when unions are trying to unionize Tesla, all of a sudden there's a bunch of barely credible lawsuits happening...

      Yeah, this. A lot of unions have a record of playing the "Nice company you've got there. It'd be a shame if it got slandered in the media non-stop until you give in to our demands" game. I remember a grocery store chain a while back, where the union types were claiming that the store was soaking rotten fish in chlorine bleach to kill the smell and putting it back in the cooler. No such fish were ever submitted in evidence, of course.

  • Do you hear that high pitched whine? That's Tesla spinning in his grave. Because he may very well have been gay himself. According to the Bernard Carlson book on Tesla, he did have a romantic relationship with another man.
  • by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @01:51PM (#55405159)

    After my 6th marriage, I began to think the problem might be me.
    -poorly quoted from some rock star or another

    Seriously, they moved me from line to line and i kept getting bullied. Is the whole company bigoted? They've hired 10,000 people from around Fremont. Is the population of Fremont this bigoted? I don't see the employees of most places treating an individual like this. I think it is more likely the guy was an asshat troublemaker.

  • Just too many of these issues are popping up with Musk lately. I think people are actively throwing wrenches into all of his operations. More specifically auto makers. This is all very dangerous. A very likely outcome is Musk moves all his operations outside the USA.

    But ponder this. Could not this worker simply be a bad apple that just happens to be gay?

  • I would think it would just be called "gay harassment" and anti-gay harassment sounds more like harassment towards the biggot.

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