Former production associate Jessica Barraza filed a lawsuit against Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) over sexual harassment she allegedly was subjected to at the automaker’s Fremont factory in California. She claims that the toxic working atmosphere led her to take a medical leave due to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
As reported by The Washington Post, Barraza, 38, says she was the target of catcalling and aggressive physical touching. She claims that “co-workers would describe her as having a ‘Coke bottle figure,’ an ‘onion booty,’ ‘fat a--,’ and ‘fat a — t — ties.’”
“After almost three years of experiencing all the harassment, it robs your sense of security — it almost dehumanizes you,” she said.
She alleges a male colleague picked her up by her waist, “pressing against her torso under her breasts,” and placed her next to him. The lawsuit alleges that, in a separate incident, “a male co-worker stuck his leg between her thighs as she was clocking back in from lunch,” the Post informs.
In the lawsuit, Barraza claims she was the target of sexually-tainted comments about her body and was regularly touched inappropriately by fellow employees, “who she alleges brushed up against her backside multiple times a week.”
In the allegations, the Tesla factory has been described as resembling “a crude, archaic construction site or frat house than a cutting-edge company in the heart of the progressive San Francisco Bay area.”
Barraza told the Post she had filed complaints to Tesla’s HR department in September and October, but the allegations did not prompt any action on the company’s side, and it is not known whether it addressed them internally.
Employee, Alisa Blickman, 33, can attest to similar situations happening at Tesla’s nearby seat factory in Fremont. She pointed to male co-workers ranking the attractiveness of female colleagues.
“I don’t know if it’s the 12-hour shifts that get to these guys or what it is –they just act like they’ve never seen girls in there or something. You really feel like a piece of meat in there.” She said she had filed a complaint as she is on medical leave.
Tesla is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders’ families.