The Problem at Tesla: Workplace Injuries

Oakland, CA

Tesla, the unicorn brainchild of billionaire Elon Musk, might have the most progressive cars in the industry, but how they treat their workers is a whole different story. In the world of California Workers' Compensation, Tesla is becoming synonymous with bad safety practice and ill-treatment of workers. Tesla's intense pressure to deliver huge numbers of new cars and the pressure to drive stock prices has lead to long hours and worker injuries way above industry standards.

Tesla took over the massive NUMMI plant (now named the Tesla Factory) near Fremont, California in 2010 to build their famous electric cars and SUVs. The NUMMI plant is famous as one of the largest car manufacturing facilities in North America. It has been redesigned into a high tech shrine just for manufacturing progressive cars. However, in the world of workplace safety they are regressive as it gets.

There are over 6300 workers at the Fremont plant, and those workers have reached out Union Automobile Manufacturers and UAW with complaints of low pay and long working hours, unreasonable increased target production, and a generally bad and highly unsafe work environment. These complaints have reportedly gone ignored by management. In the complaint, employees talk about being forced to work long hours due to lower compensation, mandatory overtime, and under-staffing caused by injuries, illness, and California workers' compensation claims.

In February of 2017, CEO Mr. Elon Musk addressed the allegations of the UAW and the whistleblowers in an email to the employees. He stated that the claims of high levels of injuries are false. Elon Musk emphasized safety issues, stating that the company's goal is zero injuries. However, Workers' Compensation claims a-plenty are coming out of the Tesla Factory. Musk also wrote that the organization continues to give benefits to its employees. However, many of the people working at Tesla are employed by staffing agencies and third party vendors, allowing Tesla to escape true responsibility. They have even added a third shift at the plant to lower overtime and long working hours.

Despite Musk's claims of low levels of workplace injuries, Worksafe, a safety advocacy group, has stated that injury rates have been found to be above industry average in years 2014 and 2015. Some claim that the workplace injuries was 31% higher than industry average in 2015 and a total of 8.1 injuries per 100 employees in 2016.

Those working under these kinds of conditions have to make sure they bring issues to their supervisors and watch out for themselves. If you've been injured at Tesla or another auto factory and want to discuss your matter with a law firm that understands auto-manufacturing injuries and Tesla cases, contact us for a free consultation or schedule a call with a member of our expert, highly-trained workers' compensation staff.

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