Earlier today, we reported on allegations of discrimination made against Tesla by a current female engineer in a lawsuit filed last fall. The suit is only now coming to light after she gave an interview with the Guardian.
Tesla has now responded to the claims and disclosed that a third-party investigation found no wrongdoing on Tesla’s part.
A Tesla spokesperson sent us the following statement:
“Tesla is committed to creating a positive workplace environment that is free of discrimination for all our employees. Ms. Vandermeyden joined Tesla in a sales position in 2013, and since then, despite having no formal engineering degree, she has sought and moved into successive engineering roles, beginning with her work in Tesla’s paint shop and eventually another role in General Assembly. Even after she made her complaints of alleged discrimination, she sought and was advanced into at least one other new role, evidence of the fact that Tesla is committed to rewarding hard work and talent, regardless of background. When Ms. Vandermeyden first brought her concerns to us over a year ago, we immediately retained a neutral third party, Anne Hilbert of EMC2Law, to investigate her claims so that, if warranted, we could take appropriate action to address the issues she raised. After an exhaustive review of the facts, the independent investigator determined that Ms. Vandermeyden’s “claims of gender discrimination, harassment, and retaliation have not been substantiated.” Without this context, the story presented in the original article is misleading.”
Therese Lawless, Vandermeyden’s lawyer, hasn’t responded to a request for comment.
The third-party investigation that Tesla ordered happened before the lawsuit was filed last fall.
In November, Hilbert met with Vandermeyden as part of her investigation of the claims that the engineer first brought up to management and HR in September 2015.
The investigator had access to Tesla’s compensation data and found that Vandermeyden’s salary was in the middle of the range and while some new hires were indeed paid more than her as her lawsuit claims, the highest paid new hire was a woman and several men were paid less than her. Therefore, Hilbert determined that gender discrimination had nothing to do with her compensation.
Featured Image: AJ Vandermeyden sits in her Tesla outside her family’s home in San Carlos, California. Photograph: Ramin Talaie for the Guardian