Tesla Motors is being sued by a former engineer who claims he suffered discrimination — and was ultimately fired — because of his age. Thomas Flessner, age 69, was hired by Tesla in 2012 to work as a materials engineer at a company facility in Fremont, California. While there, Flessner’s lawsuit alleges he was subjected to harsher treatment than his younger peers, and that his supervisor repeatedly singled him out or made it difficult to correct issues, reportedly cancelling scheduled meetings and more. Flessner was fired this past February.
According to Flessner, two of the three supervisors he had at Tesla had specifically commented negatively on his age. He singles out supervisor Paul Edwards in particular, claiming Edwards got on Flessner’s case for not working fast enough despite, according to Flessner, other younger engineers not getting the same treatment when they missed project deadlines.
Edwards is also accused of having ignoring the contributions Flessner made, cancelling meetings with him, and being harder on him than younger employees. Despite reportedly establishing a plan to improve his reviews with one of his supervisors, Flessner was ultimately fired.
According to the lawsuit, Flessner’s time at Tesla became more tense after he had to take time off for surgery, with him reportedly being told upon his return that some people at Tesla were “gunning” for him — that is, aiming to get him fired. For its part, Tesla told Fusion that it is “committed to upholding a discrimination-free workplace,” but it declined commenting on this case.
You can see case documents here.