Tesla Fires Back Against Claims of 'Pervasive Harassment' in Workplace

Employee's promotion from sales specialist to engineer is evidence that discrimination claims are without merit, says Tesla.

Electric Automobiles On Show Inside A Tesla Motors Inc. Store
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Tesla is the latest high-profile Silicon Valley company accused of gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, but the electric vehicle manufacturer says those claims are unfounded.

AJ Vandermeyden told The Guardian that as a manufacturing engineer she was paid less than her male counterparts despite performing the same work, and was been repeatedly passed over for promotion despite being equally or more qualified than male co-workers. Now a supply chain manager, she also alleges that human resources ignored her claims of sexual harassment on the factory floor and labeled her a "whistleblower" for raising concerns that vehicles were being sold in a defective state.

She told The Guardian that she is speaking out to instigate change at Tesla and advocate for fair treatment. The Drive contacted Tesla, who responded with the following statement:

Tesla is committed to creating a positive workplace environment that is free of discrimination for all our employees. Ms. Vandermeyden joined Tesla in a sales position in 2013, and since then, despite having no formal engineering degree, she has sought and moved into successive engineering roles, beginning with her work in Tesla’s paint shop and eventually another role in General Assembly. Even after she made her complaints of alleged discrimination, she sought and was advanced into at least one other new role, evidence of the fact that Tesla is committed to rewarding hard work and talent, regardless of background. When Ms. Vandermeyden first brought her concerns to us over a year ago, we immediately retained a neutral third party, Anne Hilbert of EMC2Law, to investigate her claims so that, if warranted, we could take appropriate action to address the issues she raised. After an exhaustive review of the facts, the independent investigator determined that Ms. Vandermeyden’s “claims of gender discrimination, harassment, and retaliation have not been substantiated.” Without this context, the story presented in the original article is misleading.

More as the story develops.