PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — A woman who works for Tesla has come forth with stinging allegations of “pervasive harassment” at the Palo Alto-based electric car manufacturer.
AJ Vendermeyden, who has worked for Elon Musk’s automaker as an engineer since 2013, told her story to the Guardian. She says she was paid a lower salary than her male counterparts, and passed over for promotions. Vendermeyden said management held her to a performance standard not expected of male engineers.
In her lawsuit, she also describes “unwelcome and pervasive harassment by men on the factory floor including but not limited to inappropriate language, whistling, and catcalls”, the lawsuit said.
Tesla has issued a statement to the Guardian, saying it “understands the importance of fostering an inclusive workplace that is reflective of the communities we call home,” while acknowledging that “there is more we can do to promote diversity.” They continued, “As with any company with more than 30,000 employees, it is inevitable that there will be a small number of individuals who make claims against the company, but that does not mean those claims have merit.”
The lawsuit also alleges Vendermeyden was denied overtime pay, rest breaks and meal periods. It says she has suffered “mental distress” and “humiliation.”
Nonetheless, Vendermeyden says she will continue to work for the company because she believes in it.
“I’m an advocate of Tesla,” she says. “I really do believe they are doing great things. That said, I can’t turn a blind eye if there’s something fundamentally wrong going on.”
Still, according to the Guardian, Vendermeyden has doubts about her future with the company.
“Half the time when I walk into work, I wonder if my badge is going to work,” she said.