Tesla sued over alleged "pervasive harassment," gender discrimination

Elon Musk
Rashid Umar Abbasi | Reuters

Tesla employee AJ Vandermeyden is suing the car manufacturer for "pervasive harassment" including paying her a lower salary than her male peers, according to The Guardian.

Vandermeyden told the Guardian that less qualified male employees at Elon Musk's company were being promoted before she was, and when she brought up the issue she would be ignored or punished. She also said there were incidents of "unwelcome and pervasive harassment by men on the factory floor including but not limited to inappropriate language, whistling, and catcalls" against female employees, according to the lawsuit.

Vandermeyden filed the lawsuit last year, but news of it has only become public now.

Tesla told CNBC in a statement Vandermeyden was hired in sales position in 2013, but was attempting to move into engineering roles in the paint shop and general assembly. The company also said that even though she claimed she was discriminated against, she was promoted in at least one role during that time.Tesla also hired a third-party investigator, and after an "exhaustive review of the facts" found her claims to be unsubstantiated.

"Until somebody stands up, nothing is going to change," she told the Guardian. "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."

The lawsuit comes at a time when Uber is under intense scrutiny for allegedly harboring a culture of sexual harassment, after a former female engineer wrote a blog about her experiences at the company. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick pledged to improve the company's culture.

For more on the case, see the story at The