Former Tesla employees have filed a lawsuit against the automaker over claims that the company's decision to execute a "mass layoff" disregarded a federal law that requires companies to provide sufficient, advance written notice to affected employees.
John Lynch and Daxton Hartsfield are the lead plaintiffs in the suit, but they both filed individually and “on behalf of all others similarly situated.” They said they were terminated from Tesla's Gigafactory plant in Sparks, Nevada, earlier this month. According to the lawsuit, Tesla terminated more than 500 employees alone at that Gigafactory plant in Sparks.
Where Tesla crossed the line
Lynch and Hartsfield claim that if Tesla had abided by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), they should have had at least 60 days advance notice.
Instead, the suits claim that Tesla "simply notified the employees that their terminations would be effective immediately." They also claim that the company "failed to provide a statement of the basis for reducing the notification period to zero days advance notice.”
WARN isn’t likely something someone thinks about when they lose their job, but it's designed to give workers and their families sufficient time to adjust to the possible loss of employment, to seek and obtain other jobs, and, if necessary, to enter skill training or retraining that will allow these workers to compete successfully in the job market.
The law requires employers who have 100 or more employees (not counting those who have worked less than six months in the last 12 months and those who work less than 20 hours a week) to provide at least two months of advance written notice of a plant closing and mass layoff that impacts 50 or more employees at a single site.
There’s a slight silver lining in WARN for employers, however, and it's something that Tesla might try to use to sway the court. The law allows for exceptions to be made when layoffs occur due to unforeseeable business circumstances or the company “faltering.”
ConsumerAffairs contacted Tesla, but the company did not immediately respond to our request for comment.