Tesla employees sue companies over layoffs as Musk speaks in Qatar

Two former Tesla employees filed a lawsuit alleging the company violated federal labor laws in mass layoffs earlier this month.

The workers who were fired at Tesla’s GigaFactory in Sparks, Nevada, accused the company of violating the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and said the company failed to provide the required 60-day written notice period . The lawsuit, filed Sunday, aims to classify as class actors any former Tesla employees who did not receive the legally required termination or who were terminated as part of a mass layoff or plant shutdown in May or June.

The workers, identified in the lawsuit as John Lynch and Daxton Hartsfield, said they were laid off from their plant along with 500 other employees in mid-June. The couple said the short-term layoffs were having a “devastating economic impact” on the terminated employees. According to the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Tesla offered some employees a week’s severance pay.

The layoffs were initiated by CEO Elon Musk, who said in an internal email on June 2 that he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy and that the company would have to lay off about 10 percent of its workforce, according to Reuters.

Musk said today that figure has been revised to 3 percent while speaking with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha, Qatar. That means Musk was hit with a labor lawsuit just days before speaking on behalf of a country that has its own troubling history of workers’ rights.

According to Human Rights Watch, Qatar’s workforce is made up almost entirely of migrant workers, who enjoy little protection in the country. Qatar’s kafala, or sponsorship, system gives employers exorbitant power over workers, which includes “the power to prevent them from changing jobs, escaping abusive work situations and, for some workers, leaving the country.

Much of the abuse happened after Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup by FIFA in 2010. According to a number of studies, over 6,000 migrant workers have died working in Qatar building stadiums for the World Cup.

Musk said in a virtual call with the forum that while employees will still be cut by 10 percent, that will only translate to a 3 percent reduction after Tesla hires more hourly staff.

In the interview, Musk said his deal to acquire Twitter was still in the works, after saying last month that the deal was “on hold.”

“The question is, will the debt portion of the round come together and then shareholders vote for it,” Musk said. Twitter’s board of directors today voted in favor of the acquisition.

Musk also spoke about the US economy, saying it’s “more than likely” that there will be a recession in the near future.

Read more about the Daily Dot’s technical and political coverage

*Initial Release: Jun 21, 2022 2:37pm CDT

Jacob Seitz

Jacob Seitz is a freelance journalist originally from Columbus, Ohio, interested in the intersection of culture and politics.

Jacob Seitz

https://www.dailydot.com/debug/tesla-employees-sue-layoffs-musk-qatar/ Tesla employees sue companies over layoffs as Musk speaks in Qatar

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