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Worker, Tesla Settle Low Wage Suit

Monday, July 25, 2016

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A Slovenian worker who was injured in a three-story fall at a Tesla Motors paint shop factory in California has settled a worker’s compensation and wage case against the electric automaker and two subcontractors, according to reports.

Electrician Gregor Lesnik will receive $550,000 for back wages and his injuries, according to The Mercury News. An agreement on the settlement was reportedly reached in May; however, the final order resolving the matter was filed in Alameda County Superior Court July 18.

© / domnicky

A Slovenian worker at the center of a controversial report on foreign workers who helped build Tesla's Fremont, CA, paint factory has settled with the automaker.

Lesnik and his lawsuit against Tesla and two subcontractors, Eisenmann and ISM Vuzum, were the focus of a watchdog report The Mercury News published in May.

The controversial report questioned Tesla’s hiring procedures and pay structure for foreign workers and prompted this response from Tesla, along with a string of tweets from the organization’s CEO Elon Musk.

Suit Details

Lesnik—who was seriously injured in Tesla’s Fremont factory in May 2015—alleged he was paid as little as $5 per hour without overtime. The alleged pay rate was $50 shy from an hourly labor rate agreed upon in contracts with subcontractors, Tesla said at the time. See: “Paint Shop Builder Sues Tesla.”

The suit had claimed that Lesnik and many other Eastern European laborers were brought into the country under “questionable visas” and were not compensated as promised. The suit estimated that the workers were still owed $2.6 million in overtime and additional pay, the report said.

Following the watchdog report, Tesla said that although it acted legally, it held itself to a higher moral standard.

“All of that is fine legally, but there is a larger point. Morally, we need to give Mr. Lesnik the benefit of the doubt and we need to take care of him. We will make sure this happens.”

Court documents do not break down the settlement payment made by each company; however, the final order filed leaves open the possibility of new wage claims by other workers, according to Mercury News.


Tagged categories: Automotive coatings; Business matters; Factory application methods; Fall protection; Good Technical Practice; Laws and litigation; Lawsuits; North America

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