Former Employees Sue Tesla for Violating Federal Law During ‘Mass Layoff’

Two former employees from Tesla’s Nevada gigafactory filed a lawsuit against the automaker over mass layoffs they claim were unlawful.

As Reuters reports(Opens in a new window), the suit alleges more than 500 workers were let go from the plant in June without the required 60-days advance notice, which is in violation of federal law.

“Tesla has simply notified the employees that their terminations would be effective immediately,” according to the complaint. The claim—filed in the US District Court, Western District of Texas, by John Lynch and Daxton Hartsfield—calls for pay and benefits to cover the 60-day notification period.

The pair are seeking class-action status for all former US Tesla employees laid off in May or June without the appropriate warning, as prescribed by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act ahead of a mass layoff affecting 50 or more employees at a single site.

“It’s pretty shocking that Tesla would just blatantly violate federal labor law by laying off so many workers without providing the required notice,” Shannon Liss-Riordan, an attorney representing the workers, told Reuters. She is currently preparing an emergency motion to block Tesla from getting employees to sign a release in exchange for one week’s severance pay. Tesla CEO Elon Musk downplayed the lawsuit, calling it “trivial.”

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“Let’s not read too much into a pre-emptive lawsuit that has no standing,” Musk said at Bloomberg’s Qatar Economic Forum, Reuters reported. “It seems like anything related to Tesla gets a lot of clicks, whether it is trivial or significant. I would put that lawsuit you’re referring to in the trivial category.”

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