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Female engineer sues Tesla, describing a culture of 'pervasive harassment

Discussion in 'Tesla, Inc.' started by Az_Rael, Feb 28, 2017.

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  1. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    Female engineer sues Tesla, describing a culture of 'pervasive harassment'

    A female engineer at Tesla has accused Elon Musk’s car company of ignoring her complaints of “pervasive harassment”, paying her a lower salary than men doing the same work, promoting less qualified men over her and retaliating against her for raising concerns.

    The allegations of AJ Vandermeyden, who still works at the celebrated electric car manufacturer, paint a picture of a hostile work environment dominated by men where inappropriate sexual behavior is tolerated and women face numerous barriers to advance their careers.

    This is very unfortunate if her claims are correct. She certainly has guts going forward while she still works there, I am not sure I would be able to do that in a similar situation.


    I work as a female engineer in a male dominated field (aerospace engineering), and I am the only female on my team working in a manufacturing environment. However, my company is night and day from what's being described here. I am currently the highest paid engineer and the lead on my team, and have been treated fairly and equally compared to my male coworkers based on my performance. Talking to women who worked in my company in the 80s, it didn't always used to be that way, and the company has worked very hard to change that culture. I think it greatly benefits a company to really care about these issues, as when everyone feels like they are equal parts of the team, the whole team is more productive.

    Hope Tesla gets this solved if this is a pervasive issue.
     
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  2. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    I just read this as well and was coming to post the link. If confirmed, it's entirely unacceptable. The sections about detecting flawed vehicles set for delivery really struck a chord for me.

    Building electric cars and disrupting an industry doesn't exclude Tesla from having a respectful, equal work environment. This is the second complaint coming out of Fremont in a few weeks.

    Let's hope her suit gets the appropriate attention of management and at least allows them to review their policies and environment.
     
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  3. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    The aerospace industry, has swung the complete opposite way. Female engineers are now frequently hired over better qualified male applicants. They are promoted more frequently with less qualifications. They get more opportunities and get far more recognition for their accomplishments than their male counterparts.
     
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  4. Vitold

    Vitold Active Member

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    I also don't buy the claim of pervasive harassment because of examples given in the article - such as cat calling or 30-40 man and her at one meeting. I do get that she is not happy and that's what prompted the lawsuit.
     
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  5. FlatSix911

    FlatSix911 918 Hybrid

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    Agree ... the pendulum has swung to far in the Aerospace industry that requires government contracts and quotas :cool:
     
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  6. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    I despise to see this anywhere; I am, however, really frustrated to see this article emerge as an "exclusive" in The Guardian, which to my long-suffering eyes has a reputation of spurious articles with little gravitas.

    So....irrespective of any merits of the case, that it showed up where it did smells to me far less of any good, hard investigative journalism...than of a lawyer peddling a story.

    Sheesh.
     
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  7. DillyBop

    DillyBop Member

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    i'm not saying workplace harassment of women doesn't exist. it absolutely does and it's a huge problem.

    but on the heels of the Uber thing? it seems to be the hot lawsuit of the month... capitalizing on Silicon Valley's current image problem. not saying her case isn't true, but it's suspicious timing. nothing about this going on at Tesla for 10 years, and then all of a sudden, right now, after Uber? sorry... this reeks of opportunism.

    Elon Musk has some faults, but being a bullying misogynist is not one of them. i do not see him condoning or excusing harassing behavior towards women at a company of his, not for a second.
     
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  8. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I just have to respond to the comments of women being hired over 'better qualified' men in the industry.

    While there very likely are instances of this, I can also point to far more instances of men being hired over better qualified women. I am not sympathetic to that argument. Sorry, not sorry.

    But a more positive spin is this: When we hire engineers, we look at resumes. But each and every person brings other things to the job, based on their life experiences. Cultural differences. Gender differences. Age differences. And I will happily have the discussion with anyone over how, having a diversified team, we built better products. (Who knew that the buttons would get caught up when being pressed from the side by a tester with longer nails? Oh, we did. Because we had a tester with long nails, just like so many other women that would be using the product. No one thought to write that as a requirement. But we caught it. Thanks, Shannon!)

    Diversified teams result in better products. Period. And if all you're doing is comparing resumes, you're missing the bigger picture.
     
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  9. disagree

    disagree hos epi to polu

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    When you're used to privilege, equality feels like oppression.
     
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  10. Pezpunk

    Pezpunk Member

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    this thread is a perfect example of how easily dismissed, disbelieved, and attacked women are as soon as they try to stand up to harassment and or inequitable opportunities in the workplace. i am a huge fan of Tesla and I hope this lawsuit is resolved fairly.
     
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  11. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

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    Agree. But it also means that even if the person suing Tesla was passed up for promotions over people with inferior resumes, that isn't necessarily discriminatory. There are plenty of reasons why someone can be better for a particular position with an inferior resume. (Also, I think that in many situations, women *should* be hired over men, even with inferior resumes. It's a problem that far too few women chose to become engineers, as they often bring to the table a different perspective.)

    The most objectionable thing I can see in the article is the catcalls and similar behaviour. But this isn't something the management would necessarily know about - she would need to file a complaint to inform them of the issue. This should be easy enough to find out.
     
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  12. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    I didn't say being paid/hired/promoted over folks with equal qualifications, I said over males with less qualifications.

    I don't see how the answer to discrimination of females in the past is to discriminate against men now.

    This seems like a far better way to solve the problem:
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    Yep. And this is supported by the data. It's a nontrivial component to the success of Silicon Valley.
     
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  14. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    You totally missed my point.
     
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  15. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    If this is true it should be dealt with harshly. It's not the 1970's anymore.

    A female engineer runs the largest US car company. That decision was not based on her gender, but brilliance and hard work.
     
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  16. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    #17 bonnie, Feb 28, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017
    Agree.

    Update - Having spent a large part of my career in engineering management, it's pretty difficult to NOT know if there is a hostile work environment happening. Usually the people responsible think their behavior 'is okay', so it's done in the open. A manager is responsible for ensuring a safe work environment AND for having built a culture where they'll know if something is going off the rails. At the least, an employee should feel safe coming to talk to you about a problem. If they don't come talk to you, you have to ask why.

    As an engineer, I experienced plenty of blatant and subtle discrimination in my career. I usually handled it in a couple of ways - First, I'd talk privately to the individual. I didn't do it publicly (usually) because I didn't want to destroy trust if the situation was reversible. "I doubt you meant it this way, but here's the buttons it pushed for me". Of course they'd deny meaning it that way, but they were also then on notice that I was aware - and it usually stopped. And what they didn't realize, that when displaying their neanderthal thinking, they told me a lot about who they were and how to deal with them in the future. They played their cards & still didn't have a clue about me.
     
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  17. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    I do not like to hear things like this at any company, everyone goes thru training on the management level about these issues. Having been an operation manager for 25 years I can tell you all kinds of stories related to this and not to say this is not valid in this case, lots of dissatisfied employees can tend to find ways to complain. I hope Tesla can resolve these issues, if her complaints are true it is totally unacceptable.
     
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  18. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    What was your point then? That we should ignore instances of women being hired over men because more men are hired over women?
     
  19. Petra

    Petra Member

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    Her suit was filed last year... so, if anyone is being opportunist, it's The Guardian.

    Based on my own experience in Silicon Valley tech/IT, the experiences of people I know, and my wife's experience as an engineer in both SV tech and the defense industry, I wouldn't doubt this woman's story for a second and, sadly, I don't find it the slightest bit surprising. It's also troubling that people seem to want to compartmentalize this problem and treat it as though it's a Silicon Valley problem when it's not... it's a larger societal one that crosses regions and industries.
     
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