Tesla sued by former employees for ‘mass layoff’

June 20 (Reuters) – Former Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) workers have filed a lawsuit against the US electric car company alleging its decision to go through a “mass layoff” violates federal law as the company was not given advance notice of the scrapping of jobs.

The lawsuit was filed late Sunday in Texas by two workers who said they were fired from Tesla’s gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada in June.

More than 500 employees were laid off at the Nevada plant, according to the lawsuit.

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The employees allege that the company failed to comply with federal mass layoff laws that require a 60-day notice period under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, according to the lawsuit.

They want class action status for all former Tesla employees in the United States who were fired in May or June without notice.

“Tesla simply informed the employees that their layoffs would be effective immediately,” the complaint said.

Tesla, which has not commented on the number of layoffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the lawsuit.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, said earlier this month that he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy and that Tesla needed to cut its workforce by about 10%, according to an email seen by Reuters. read more

According to online reports and interviews with Reuters, more than 20 people who identified themselves as Tesla employees said they were fired, fired or had their positions terminated this month. read more

The action filed by John Lynch and Daxton Hartsfield, who were fired on June 10 and 15 respectively, seeks wages and benefits on 60 days’ notice.

“It’s pretty shocking that Tesla would blatantly violate federal labor law by firing so many employees without providing the required notice,” Shannon Liss-Riordan, an attorney representing the employees, told Reuters.

She said Tesla is offering some employees only one week’s notice, adding that she is preparing an emergency motion with a court to try to prevent Tesla from trying to release employees in exchange for just one week of layoffs.

Musk dismissed the lawsuit as “trivial”.

“Let’s not read too much into a preemptive lawsuit that has no stand,” he said at the Qatar Economic Forum, hosted by Bloomberg.

“It seems like anything related to Tesla gets a lot of clicks, whether it’s trivial or important. I’d put that lawsuit you’re referring to in the trivial category.”

The suit was filed in the US District Court, Western District of Texas.

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Reporting by Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco; adaptation by Richard Pullin and Jason Neely

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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