SPARKS, Nev. - Tesla has been hit with a new lawsuit filed by two former employees who alleged they were among thousands of workers abruptly laid off by the electric car company without federally required notice.
The former employees, John Lynch and Daxton Hartsfield, were working at Tesla’s Gigafactory battery plant in Sparks, Nevada, where they were among more 500 workers who were recently fired and told that their terminations were "effective immediately," according to the lawsuit, which also said that in fact, the laid off workers did not receive "any advance written notice of their terminations."
The suit said that Tesla’s action violated the federal WARN Act, a law requiring employers to provide written notice at least 60 calendar days in advance of mass layoffs and plant closings.
The plaintiffs sought class action status in the lawsuit, on behalf of all former Tesla employees who were laid off this month and last without the required notice, according to Reuters.
"On information and belief, in approximately May or June 2022, Tesla initiated a mass layoff of employees at its sites across the country," the lawsuit said, adding, "Upon information and belief, thousands of other employees working for Tesla across the United States have been terminated."
In a statement, Shannon Liss-Riordan, an attorney representing the workers told KTVU, "Tesla is laying off thousands of employees in what appears to be a blatant violation of the WARN Act. "
She also said that the company was trying to get workers to agree to only one week of severance pay, "even though they are entitled to much more." The plaintiffs' attorneys were urging workers to decline that offer.
"We are stunned by the hubris of the world’s richest man saying that our labor laws protecting workers are ‘trivial,’" Liss-Riordan said, adding. "Elon Musk can clearly go 60 days without pay – but the workers who have made Tesla the company that it is are not so fortunate."
The plaintiffs were seeking compensation and benefits for 60 days, after they were terminated, along with legal fees and costs.
Tesla did not immediately respond to KTVU’s request for comment.
The lawsuit was filed on Sunday in federal court in Texas, where Tesla has its new headquarters after moving out of Palo Alto last year.