Two Tesla factory workers claim that they were fired for not returning to work over coronavirus concerns — despite promises from Elon Musk that attendance was not mandatory.
The pair of employees at the electric automaker’s Fremont, Calif., factory told the Washington Post that they received termination notices for “failure to return to work” during the state’s lockdown in May, even though they were taking unpaid leave.
Carlos Gabriel and Jessica Naro said they believed they were targeted for expressing concern about working conditions at the plant at a June 15 news conference, even though Musk told employees to “not feel obligated” to come back to the factory floor if they “feel uncomfortable.”
“Some people don’t really care about wearing [personal protective equipment],” Gabriel told the newspaper. “PPE is thrown on the ground after being used. People are afraid to go to the bathroom. People are afraid to eat.”
Naro eventually got her job back after speaking to an HR representative, but Gabriel stopped hearing back after insisting on recording the call or having the conversation via email.
Half a dozen anonymous Tesla workers told the paper that the Northern California factory was lax in enforcing social distancing and other safety measures, including the sanitizing of machinery.
The report alleges that factory employees are “hovering over each other,” and that there is a lack of communication between management and staff regarding coronavirus cases among workers. Employees disappear for weeks at a time, according to the report, with supervisors saying only that they were “sick.”
A representative for Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.
Source: New York Post