Tesla has fired AJ Vandermeyden, the female engineer suing the company over claims she experienced “pervasive harassment,” a Tesla spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider.
Vandermeyden’s lawyer, Therese Lawless, is alleging the firing is an act of retaliation, according to The Guardian, which was the first to report the news.
The lawsuit claims Vandermeyden experienced “unwelcome and pervasive harassment” by men on the factory floor, such as cat calls and inappropriate language. The suit says Vandermeyden was denied promotions over men who were “equally or less qualified” than her.
Tesla said it launched an independent investigation into Vandermeyden’s claims and found them to be unsubstantiated.
“After we carefully considered the facts on multiple occasions and were absolutely convinced that Ms. Vandermeyden’s claims were illegitimate, we had no choice but to end her employment at Tesla,” a Tesla spokesperson told Business Insider.
The investigation was conducted in 2016 by Anne Hilbert, a partner at Employment Matters Counseling & Consulting, a law firm in Palo Alto, California.
Tesla said Vandermeyden was promoted to different engineering roles at the company despite lacking an engineering degree.
“The termination was based on Ms. Vandermeyden behaving in what the evidence indicates is a fundamentally false and misleading manner, not as a result of retaliation for the lawsuit,” the Tesla spokesperson said.
Allegations of sexism in the workplace are continuing to crop up at Silicon Valley companys.
Former Uber engineer Susan Fowler said she experienced sexual harassment and gender bias at the ride-hailing company in a personal blog post in February, prompting an internal investigation. The Department of Labour is currently suing Google over claims it underpays female employees.
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