Tesla sexual harassment lawsuit moves forward in California court

A California court Monday allowed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Tesla to move forward instead of being sent to private arbitration.

Judge Stephen Kraus of the Alameda County Superior Court denied Tesla, Inc.’s (Tesla) motion to compel arbitration in a brief one-sentence order without providing explanation. Judge Kraus allowed the lawsuit to move forward in court even though plaintiff Jessica Barraza signed an arbitration agreement in which she relinquished her right to sue Tesla.

In November 2021 Barraza filed a sexual harassment complaint comparing Tesla’s assembly plant factory floor to a “frat house” with a “pervasive culture of sexual harassment[.]” The complaint alleged that “for years Tesla has subjected women working in its Fremont plant to nightmarish conditions of rampant sexual harassment.” The alleged sexual harassment “includes a daily barrage of sexist language and behavior, including frequent groping on the factory floor, is known to supervisors and managers and often perpetrated by them.”

On March 3 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021. However this act does not apply to complaints filed before its enactment.