On John Lynch’s LinkedIn account, the little words of former colleagues scroll sadly: “You are an excellent leader, mentor and man. Wherever you go, they’re lucky to have you.”, wrote one of them. Below, another adds with emotion: “You are one of the best teammates I have worked with, John.” A few days earlier, this former production supervisor of the gigantic Tesla electric car factory in Nevada (United States) received an unequivocal message from his employer, stipulating his dismissal. “immediate”. A message that 500 other employees of the company specializing in electric vehicles would also have received, if we are to believe the complaint that John Lynch filed on Sunday.
The latter is co-signed by another former employee, Daxton Hartsfield, dismissed on June 15 after four years in the box. Together, the two men accuse their former employer of having carried out an illegal mass dismissal. Illegal because the company, in charge of the production of batteries for successful vehicles, would not have provided notice of their departure. Filed in Texas, the complaint cites in particular the Warn law (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act), obliging companies with more than 100 employees to notify at least 60 days in advance in the event of layoff. “With respect to the recent mass layoffs, Tesla did not provide written notification, or advance notice, to plaintiffs”overwhelms the complaint.
Requested by Freed, the company run by billionaire Elon Musk did not comment on the lawsuit or the total number of pending layoffs. However, in an email seen by Reuters in June, the South African-born businessman said he had “a bad feeling” about the economy and asked to reduce the workforce of his company by about 10%. That is more than 9,000 people. A “presentiment” incomprehensible if we judge by the financial results of the giant of the “watture”. Tesla’s quarterly revenue increased 81% in the first quarter of 2022, to a whopping $18.75 billion.
But the economic context worries. There is the war in Ukraine, interest rates raised by the US Federal Reserve to fight inflation or the faltering Chinese economy as it faces new health restrictions. Tesla is not the only tech company to apprehend the future. In May, in the San Francisco Bay Area, 3,300 jobs jumped in the sector, according to Beacon Economics. PayPal, Elon Musk’s former online payment company, recently forced 83 of its workers out. Facebook and Amazon have meanwhile slowed their infernal pace of hiring.
For their complaint, John Lynch and Daxton Hartsfield are seeking class action status to represent all former Tesla employees who were fired in May or June across the United States. Among their claims, the two men demand, in particular, the obtaining of salary, commissions, bonuses and benefits normally due during the mandatory 60-day notification period. A way to compensate “the devastating economic impact” what the company’s hasty decision had on them.
Not sure, however, that Elon Musk is ready to drop the greenbacks. The billionaire, currently engaged in a complicated conquest of Twitter, quipped about the importance of this lawsuit, reports Reuters. At the Qatar Economic Forum, hosted by Bloomberg, he said dismissively: “It seems like anything Tesla gets a lot of clicks, whether the topic is meaningful or not. I would put this lawsuit […] in the category of insignificant things.
Just last week, the entrepreneur was the subject of a complaint for pyramid fraud because of his influence on the price of Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency. The plaintiff, an investor, is claiming $258 million from him. On the other hand, a Tesla shareholder is suing him and his company for neglecting accusations of sexual harassment and racism made by some employees. Insignificant or not? One wonders in which category Elon Musk classifies these cases.