A report from the Bay Area News Group Watchdog published in the Mercury News back in May suggested that foreign workers were brought in from Slovenia with nonimmigrant visa for tourism and business, known as a B1, in order to build Tesla’s new paint shop at the Fremont factory in California.
The report was based on a lawsuit filed by Gregor Lesnik, a Slovenian worker injured during his work at the factory, against Tesla and two subcontractors in charge of the paint shop projects, Eisenmann and Vuzem. The report alleged that workers were paid only $5 per hour while Tesla was paying the contractors $55 per hour.
After the report came out, Tesla said that it was going to do the right thing for the injured worker and we now learn that 10 days later, the automaker and contractors settle the suit for $550,000 without specifying the breakdown between companies.
While the report and settlement happened in May 2016 and the accident in May 2015, the settlement is only now coming to light now after the final details of the settlement were filed Monday, according to the Mercury News.
Lesnik suffered broken legs, ribs and a concussion after a three-story fall from the roof of the paint shop.
The civil suit was settled for $400,000 and the workers’ compensation claim for $150,000.
After the report, Elon Musk published the agreement with Eisenmann to pay $55 per hour for the work, which the contractor in turn had to pay to its own subcontractor Vuzem. Mercury News tracked the companies’ comments on the payments:
“Musk later said the company paid Eisenmann $55 an hour for the workers. Eisenmann said it agreed to pay Vuzem that hourly rate for the construction work. Vuzem declined to comment. Workers said they received far less.”
After the report came out in May, Tesla said that a judge cleared them of responsibility from the compensation issue and Cal/OSHA from the accident, but the automaker said that it would still “take care” of Lesnik:
“All of that is fine legally, but there is a larger point. Morally, we need to give Mr. Lesnik the benefit of the doubt and we need to take care of him. We will make sure this happens.”
Lesnik is reportedly back in Slovenia and Tesla completed work on its new state-of-the-art paint shop, which is built to support up to 500,000 vehicles per year.
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