Electric carmaker Tesla was sued Thursday for sexual harassment by a female worker at its factory in Fremont, California. The lawsuit describes a workplace culture that has "nightmarish conditions."
Jessica Barraza, 38, is a Model 3 overnight assembly worker, who is married and has two children. She had to take a medical leave after almost daily harassment that included physical touching and catcalling, according to the Washington Post. Another employee corroborated to the Post of an incident in which a male employee stuck his leg between Barazza's thighs.
“Quite simply, the goal is to put a stop to the sexual harassment that is rampant at Tesla, that she experienced, and other women have come forward to say they experienced,” Lowe said.
Barraza is accusing Tesla of violating anti-harassment, discrimination, and retaliation laws, due to the company handling her sexual harassment claims by only relocating her, and not actually confronting the issue of encouraging the harassing workers to stop.
“She just wasn't prepared for the onslaught of vile, vulgar, catcalls she experienced, along with the groping until she just couldn't take it anymore,” Lowe said.
The harassment, according to the lawsuit includes, “unauthorized contact from male workers,” such as, “brushing their hand or groin up against her backside,” and “lifting her up by her torso beneath her breasts.”
Barraza also claims that a female co-worker had “used her hands to touch the small of her back while remarking on her butt.”
An example of the explicit comments according to the lawsuit, is a supervisor referring to Barraza and other female co-workers as, “b****es, to work alongside a male coworker.”
The Post noted that the carmaker "requires many workers to sign mandatory arbitration agreements, which mandate that disputes are settled outside of court."
“It's really become an unfortunate common practice among major employers to try to shunt these cases into a private arbitration to avoid public accountability,” Lowe said.
“Our position is this was an intentional attempt to enforce an illegal agreement, and we're not going to stand for that, this case belongs in court," he said.