Ex-employees sue Tesla for 'mass layoffs' - Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Tesla logo is seen in Los Angeles, California, US, January 12, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

by Akriti Sharma and Hyunjoo Jin

June 20 (Reuters) – Former Tesla (NASDAQ:) employees are suing the US electric car company, claiming that its decision to implement a “mass layoff” violated federal law because the company did not provide advance notice of job cuts.

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

According to the lawsuit, more than 500 employees of the Nevada plant have been laid off.

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

They want to place a class action lawsuit on all former Tesla employees across the US who were fired in May or June without notice.

“Tesla has only notified employees that their layoffs will be effective immediately,” the lawsuit said.

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

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

More than 20 people who identified themselves as Tesla employees said they were fired or removed from their jobs this month, according to online publications and interviews with Reuters.

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The lawsuit, filed by John Lynch and Daxton Hartsfield, who were fired on June 10 and June 15, respectively, aims to obtain pay and fringe benefits for a 60-day notice period.

“It is absolutely appalling that Tesla is so flagrantly violating federal labor law by laying off so many workers without providing the required notice,” Shannon Lees Riordan, a lawyer representing the workers, told Reuters.

Liss-Riordan said Tesla is only offering some employees a week’s severance pay, adding that it is preparing an emergency motion in court to try to prevent Tesla from firing employees in exchange for just a week’s severance pay.

Musk played down the lawsuit, calling it “frivolous.”

“Let’s not attach too much importance to a baseless precautionary demand,” he said at the Qatar Economic Forum organized by Bloomberg.

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

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court, Western District of Texas.

(Reporting by Akreti Sharma in Bengaluru and Hyunju Jin in San Francisco; Editing by Richard Boleyn and Jason Neely; translated by Flora Gomez)

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