Tesla has fired hundreds of managers, factory workers, engineers and others in a move said to not be a layoff, but instead the result of an annual review of worker performance. The company has more than 33,000 employees, and indicated that this firing spree was the result of each worker’s performance, with one spokesperson explaining that performance reviews “occasionally result in employee departures.”
The statement was given to The Mercury News, which reports that it spoke with both current and now-former employees who claim that Tesla didn’t give much of any warning before firing the workers. They also claim that Tesla fired some of its engineers trained for production and vehicle design, as well as one supervisor and some factory workers.
Tesla hasn’t stated how many people it fired, and the interview with employees leaves an estimate that between 400 and 700 people were cut. The spokesperson went on to explain that ‘most’ of the fired individuals comprised sales and administrative roles or were otherwise outside of manufacturing. Not surprisingly, anonymous word from the inside says the surprise round of firings has lowered worker morale across the company.
The spokesperson stated that Tesla will be hiring new workers to replace the ‘vast majority’ of those who were fired. Some fired employees have spoken up about their dismissals. One worker, for example, claimed that he has been late for work twice in the recent past, and though believing that it had been set straight with his supervisor, he was ultimately one of the people fired.
Because Tesla fired these individuals for reported performance problems, it says it doesn’t need to fire a notification with the state. Contrary to what the interviewed employees said, Tesla’s spokesperson claimed to Mercury News that its recent business actions have improved workers’ morale since some high performing workers were given promotions and other rewards.
This move follows a report earlier this year published by a Tesla employee who alleged poor working conditions for many Tesla employees, including having to work ‘excessive mandatory overtime,’ endure ‘preventable injuries’ and ‘a constant push to work faster,’ and more. Though Tesla denounced the report, it isn’t the first time Tesla workers have surfaced claiming poor working conditions.
Despite Tesla’s push back against the claims, the National Labor Relations Board ordered Tesla to respond to these complaints back in August. The order revolves around the company’s alleged restrictive confidentiality policy as well as claimed harassment endured by workers when they tried to promote unionizing.
That follows a public campaign by Tesla’s factory employees who wanted to union with United Automobile Workers in order to get better working conditions and higher pay. One complaint alleged that Tesla had threatened to fire any of its workers who passed out any materials it hadn’t approved, something reportedly intended to block unionizing efforts. Tesla will have to address these issues with the Board next month.
SOURCE: The Mercury News