News: Tesla engineer sues company over discrimination and harassment


Tesla engineer sues company over discrimination and harassment

First Uber, now Tesla engineer sues company over gender biasedness and sexual harassment
Tesla engineer sues company over discrimination and harassment

Latest in the string of pervasive harassment cases is a lawsuit filed by a female employee working in Tesla, electric car maker, over culture of gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the company. The incident was second reported in a week following Uber alleged sexual harassment case. 

As per media, AJ Vandermeyden, the Tesla Engineer claims that her repeated complaints of discrimination and pervasive harassment were ignored by the company.  As per her lawsuit, there was use of inappropriate language, whistling and catcalls. She was given less pay than men working in the company and fellow women engineers weren’t given deserving promotions. Also, she wasn’t paid overtime and no breaks were allotted to her including meal breaks, when was in sales profile. 

In the recent Uber news , Travis Kalanick has asked Uber’s Senior Vice President of Engineering division – Amit Singhal to resign as the latter failed to disclose that he left Google because of a sexual harassment allegations. Apparently, Google insider found the complaints against Singhal ‘credible’. This is one of the very few instances (or probably the first) where a company has voluntarily asked a Senior Executive to resign for a past allegation in a different company. This has come at a time when Uber which is already facing a lot of flak for being a ‘sexist’ organizations as alleged by a former Uber female employee who wrote on her blog about various incidents of sexism at Uber, and also put the HR department under scrutiny. 

In November 2016 , a complaint was made by female Taj executive against Rakesh Sarana, Indian Hotels Co. Ltd (IHCL) over harassment and inappropriate conduct. The managing of this particular sexual harassment case is considered as one of the main factors that led to dismissal of Cyrus Mistry as the chairman of Tata Sons on October 24, when Ratan Tata took back reins of group’s holding company. 

Other prominent cases highlighted in media include, Phaneesh Murthy, known software executives who had to resign from Infosys in 2002 after his secretary Reka Maximovitch accused him of sexual harassment. Infosys settled for $3 million outside court. Murthy was also sacked by an American IT firm – iGATE Corporation in 2013 on sexual harassment charges.  In 2015, Shreya Ukil, an India-born British citizen, accused Wipro of sex discrimination, unequal pay, harassment and unfair dismissal, and sought compensation of up to £1 million, according to a claim at the central London employment tribunal. 

In India, every corporate need to set up Sexual Harassment committee to tackle such allegations. It has been mandated by the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act, 2013 which is an extension of the earlier Vishakha Guidelines. Corporates having 10 or more employees need to set up a committee at each location, so that women can feel comfortable to come forward and make a complaint to local members of the Committee. The committee members are legally obligated to help the woman make the complaint in writing, in case, she is unable to do so for any reason.

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Topics: Diversity, Culture

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