STANDING UP

Engineer Sues Tesla Over ‘Pervasive Harassment’

A female engineer is speaking out and suing Tesla for allegedly ignoring her complaints of “pervasive harassment” at the Elon Musk-owned company. AJ Vandermeyden, 33, who is still employed by the car manufacturer, claims she was paid a lower salary for the same work as men and that less qualified male counterparts were promoted over her. She also contends that she was retaliated against after she reported her concerns about the environment to HR and management. Vandermeyden, wrote a viral blog post in which she alleged that the company routinely dismissed her complaints and even protected offenders. “Until somebody stands up, nothing is going to change,” Vandermeyden said in a Guardian interview. “I’m an advocate of Tesla. 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.” She added, “It’s shocking in this day and age that this is still a fight we have to have.”

In response to The Guardian’s article, a Tesla spokesperson sent 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.”