Six women who currently or formerly worked at Tesla filed a lawsuit alleging the company of fostering a culture of sexual harassment. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Six women filed lawsuits against Tesla on Tuesday, accusing the electric vehicle maker of fostering a culture of sexual harassment.
The six current and former employees filed suits in Alameda County Superior Court alleging they were subjected to constant sexual harassment by their colleagues and supervisors as they were "catcalled, ogled, touched inappropriately and propositioned," David A. Lowe, an attorney representing the women said.
Five of the employees work or worked at Tesla's Fremont, Calif., factory facilities, while one worked in service centers throughout Southern California.
In the lawsuits and interviews with The Washington Post, the accusers named as Michaela Curran, Alize Brown, Jessica Brooks, Alisa Blickman, Samira Sheppard and Eden Mederos described common experiences including saying the behavior persisted after the lodged complaints, while others said they feared talking to human resources because their superiors participated in the harassment.
Several of the women also said they sought to protect themselves from the harassment by wearing baggy clothes and said the experience led to depression and anxiety that stifled their careers.
Curran alleged that her direct supervisor told her that she should dance as a stripper with her "big butt" and directly told her to shake her rear end for him.
Brown said she started working at Tesla after giving birth to a baby and alleged that a colleague called her a "cow" who was milking. She also said she told her supervisor, who she said would look her body up and down, about the harassment but he treated the incidents "like a joke."
Brooks, who is currently on stress-related leave, said she stacked boxes around her work station and bought flannel shirts to tie around her waist to deter the harassment.
"I was so tired of the unwanted attention and the males gawking at me, I proceeded to create barriers around me just so I could get some relief," she said. "That was something I felt necessary just so I can do my job."
When Brooks told human resources about the harassment, she said nothing was done to address the behavior and she was moved to a different part of the factory.
The women also said the behavior of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who was named Time's Person of the Year this week, contributed to the company's culture and the behavior of their male co-workers.
Musk, who is known for referencing the number 69 in tweets, also named the company's line of cars the Models S, 3, X and Y, spelling out "S3XY."
"When they were rumoring that the Model Y was coming out and it was sexy ... around that time everything got worse," Mederos told The Washington Post. "It was like, 'Oh this door panel's sexy, this pencil's sexy.'"
Last month, Jessica Barraza filed a lawsuit alleging that Tesla leaders fostered a constant climate of harassment, where she repeatedly endured catcalls, and unwanted touching and more physical contact.