The former safety director at Tesla has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company in a California court. He alleges the automaker fired him after less than four months on the job because he revealed Tesla hadn’t properly recorded injuries suffered by employees.
On the company’s behalf, Tesla representatives responded that the man was fired not because of concerns about corporate safety but instead over how he treated other employees in the workplace.
In the lawsuit, the man contends his termination came after he shared an audit regarding the safety of Tesla’s assembly plant in Fremont, California. He said he had been charged with developing a safety program for the facility and in the process of doing his research, he discovered that some workplace injuries hadn’t been either treated or reported properly.
The man said he also discovered working conditions weren’t safe, citing a record of chemical fires and oil spills. He presented his findings on May 7, 2017, and was terminated on June 8, 2017, according to the lawsuit.
A Tesla spokesperson said the company had received a number of complaints about the man’s behavior and a comprehensive investigation led to his termination. Other employees had accused him of trying to intimidate and bully them and of commenting about women inappropriately.
Under California whistleblower protection laws, workers who disclose workplace violations, even if that is not part of their job duties, are protected from retaliation, which includes termination.
If you ever find yourself in a similar situation at work, the guidance of an experienced attorney who understands California employment law can help you protect your rights in the workplace. No one wants to face the possibility of wrongful termination.