Tesla is facing another lawsuit over alleged harassment at one of its plants, this time from a 38-year-old night shift worker, Jessica Barraza, who said that rampant misconduct at the carmaker’s Fremont factory has left her with severe panic attacks and post-traumatic stress.
“Although Tesla publicly claims that it fosters a safe and respectful environment for its workers, the truth is that for years Tesla has subjected women working in its Fremont plant to nightmarish conditions of rampant sexual harassment,” Barraza alleged in the suit, which was filed in California Superior Court on Thursday.
Barraza likened the factory to a “frat house” and said that misconduct was “known by supervisors and managers and often perpetrated by them.”
Among the alleged infractions: her coworkers would rub up against her and make lewd comments about her body, like “that bitch hella thick” and “Girl has an onion booty.”
The Washington Post previously reported on the lawsuit.
In one instance, Barraza said, she complained after another plant worker wouldn’t stop ogling her. Barraza’s supervisor allegedly told her that “Maybe you shouldn't wear shirts that draw attention to your chest.” She said she told him that she was simply wearing company-issued clothes.
In another case, a supervisor allegedly came on to Barraza via text message. When she rebuffed him, he said, “You know this only makes me want you more, right?”
Barraza said she complained to human resources repeatedly about the pattern of behavior, but nothing changed.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO and the richest man in the world, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Barraza said she left work in October after she broke down crying and struggled to breathe. She drove to the emergency room, where she received anxiety medication. She alleges that she was then cited with a disciplinary report for “job abandonment.”
She is on medical leave through the rest of the year under the advice of a doctor, she said.
“Ms. Barraza has always been a tough person. She builds cars. She stands up for herself,” the lawsuit said, but three years of mistreatment were too much for her to handle.
Barraza also filed a discrimination, harassment, and retaliation complaint with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
In her suit, she claimed that Tesla’s mandatory arbitration agreement is unenforceable, and she is seeking a jury trial.
Last month, Tesla suffered a staggering $137 million judgment over a case filed by a separate former employee, Owen Diaz, who said the carmaker failed to address racist treatment by his supervisors. Diaz, who is Black, had not signed an arbitration agreement.
“God's justice is that I didn't sign [it],” he told The Daily Beast. “Arbitration is not good for the common worker… These companies are using arbitration to effectively turn workers into slaves.”
The pattern of litigation has repeatedly thrust Tesla into the news, as Musk makes headlines of his own, for his petty space rivalry with Jeff Bezos, his Twitter trolling, and his decision to move the company’s headquarters to Texas despite outrage over the state’s restrictive abortion laws.