Tesla workers laid off in the US say the company shortchanged them on severance benefits – and filed a lawsuit to ensure the maker of electric cars pays up.
Two former employees also sued the company for ordering mass layoffs without providing 60 days’ notice required under US law.
Tesla has been asking employees to agree to release it of all claims, in exchange for a severance of just one or two weeks’ pay and benefits, the motion filed with a Texas court alleges.
This is a small portion of the actual severance of 60 days of pay and benefits that the employees would be entitled to under a labour law – the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, it added.
The two workers were among more than 500 laid off at Tesla’s electric cars gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, in May and June.
“Employees who have lost their jobs are typically eager to get whatever additional pay that they can get and have no reason to know that they are entitled to more due to Tesla’s violations of the WARN Act,” the motion said.
“In short, Tesla hopes to buy off these class members’ claims for pennies on the dollar.”
Tesla did not immediately reply to an email seeking comments.
Chief executive Elon Musk told top managers last month that he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy and that the company needed to cut staff by about 10%.
Later, the billionaire said the 10% cuts would apply only to salaried workers and that hourly staff numbers were still expected to grow. However, hourly workers have also been terminated.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell