California Tesla employee files lawsuit over harassment claims

(CNN) — A California Tesla worker filed a federal sexual-harassment suit against the electric car maker on Monday, alleging multiple instances of improper conduct by a male supervisor who “strided around the workplace making a scene” and getting into the employee’s private space.

Bryan Eggleston said in the suit that the supervisor and another supervisor would make lewd gestures at his crotch and other parts of his body and send “inappropriate and pornographic images and text messages” to him. He alleges one of the men sexually assaulted him.

Eggleston also is suing Tesla’s parent company, Tesla Motors, accusing them of failing to provide him with the minimum levels of safety and security needed at work. The suit comes after CNN revealed that nearly three years earlier, another worker filed a sexual-harassment complaint against a male supervisor.

“Tesla has failed to take action to curb sexual harassment at its facilities, failed to train employees on how to identify sexual harassment, and failed to enforce an ’employee friendly’ culture where employees are able to report issues of sexual harassment without fear of retaliation,” Eggleston’s suit states.

CNN reached out to Tesla for comment on the Eggleston’s lawsuit. A Tesla spokesperson told CNN that they couldn’t comment on a pending lawsuit but did say the company is committed to supporting its workers.

“While at Tesla, Bryan has consistently received the highest possible marks for his overall performance and commitment to our mission,” the spokesperson said. “Bryan makes a wonderful employee and is a great contributor to our team.”

CNN’s reporting of that sexual-harassment complaint from 2015 fueled the creation of a Tesla-wide employee workshop for those experiencing sexual harassment and discrimination. It resulted in dozens of reports coming in, the company said at the time.

Eggleston’s attorney Steven Wildt, who has also represented other employees who have filed sexual-harassment suits, said that the assembly line supervisor was “systematically” harassing his client. Wildt also represents the employee who filed the earlier sexual-harassment complaint.

In his suit, Eggleston alleges that the supervisor would “walking around the factory making a scene” with his behavior and made the supervisor “trouble and chaos.” Eggleston is a former employee, who the suit states will have benefits from Tesla, including “health insurance and medical insurance as well as a retirement plan.”

According to Eggleston’s suit, after a visit to a dentist’s office by his supervisor, Eggleston’s supervisor returned and stood in the doorway of his vehicle with an open bottle of Perrier water while “obviously drunk.” He is accused of then “grabbing Eggleston’s crotch” after the dentist’s office. Eggleston’s suit alleges that his supervisor harassed him for over two years.

The lawsuit says “the male supervisor would sexually assault Bryan if he ran into him on the assembly line.” Eggleston is also charged with retaliating against him after filing the sexual-harassment complaint. Eggleston alleges that his supervisor threatened to suspend him if he continued reporting the harassment.

Eggleston says he decided to take legal action after, after the company “failed to adequately respond” to his claim of retaliation, he was assigned to a production line that was “by far the most stressful” he’d ever experienced.

Despite having work-related anxiety symptoms after his ordeal at work, Eggleston says he “elected to stay at Tesla” to advance his career there.

Eggleston said that in addition to his concerns with sexual harassment, he also has safety concerns. Eggleston was working alone in the assembly line on three separate occasions on top of being harassed by his supervisor. In August, he claims in the suit, he was “accidentally punctured by a single projectile from a flying tool” while he was working on a vehicle.

Eggleston claims the man had gone to the emergency room for stitches.

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