After issues surrounding its Autopilot, Tesla is now facing controversy again as one of its former employees is accusing the company of discriminating against him due to his age.
69-year old Thomas Flessner has filed a lawsuit against his former employer on Thursday. He had begun as a contract hire for Tesla before being promoted to a full-time materials engineer at the electric vehicle maker’s facility in Fremont, California. Soon after he landed the job, however, Flessner said the discrimination started.
According to a report from Fusion, Flessner was isolated from the rest of the members of the engineering team because of his age. It was also commonly pointed out to him that he was completing work relatively slower than others.
However, the lawsuit also pointed out that “the younger engineers were not criticized for the speed of their work by [supervisor Paul] Edwards even though they did not accomplish their projects any faster than plaintiff.”
Edwards, Tesla’s Sr. Manager of Materials Engineering, was said to be repeatedly mentioned in Flessner’s lawsuit.
According to Fusion, Edwards would also single him out and criticize him much more sternly. Things got worse for him after he took some time off after undergoing surgery for congestive heart failure. A former supervisor had also warned him, “These guys are gunning for you.”
Tesla fired Flessner from the company back in February. This was despite Flessner working on an “action plan” with his supervisor in order to improve his work reviews.
Following the lawsuit, the company released a statement saying, “While we aren’t commenting on the specifics of this litigation, we are committed to upholding a discrimination-free workplace.”
According to a report from electrek, Tesla’s current median age for its employees is 30 years old. It is said to be slightly below than other companies in Silicon Valley.