Tesla said that would start an inquiry on how a worker was injured at its plant in Fremont, following a comprehensive and troubling media report over the company’s methods of using cheap workforce.
The scrutiny on Tesla has started over the last weekend, when The Mercury News published an ample investigative report on how the company is using illegal and cheap workforce at its plant in Fremont, California. The story focuses on a Slovenian electrician, Gregor Lesnik, who was employed for around 5 dollars an hour to work to the expansion of the facility, ending up by falling three stories last year and suffering some serious injuries.
“At Tesla, we aspire to operate on the principles of hard work and exceptional performance, but always tempered by fairness, justice and kindness. There are times when mistakes are made, but those are the standards to which we hold ourselves,” Tesla responded to the report in a statement. “With respect to the person at the center of this weekend’s article in the Mercury News, those standards were not met. We are taking action to address this individual’s situation and to put in place additional oversight to ensure that our workplace rules are followed even by sub-subcontractors to prevent such a thing from happening again.”
The Mercury News said that were about 140 workers from Eastern Europe, mostly from Croatia and Slovenia, who built a new paint shop at Tesla’s Fremont plant, all working long hours with low pay, also questioning the hiring practices.
“Gregor Lesnik was brought to the Tesla factory by a company called ISM Vuzem, a sub-contractor brought in by Eisenmann, the firm that we hired to construct our new, high-volume paint shop,” Tesla said. “As far as the law goes, Tesla did everything correctly. We hired a contractor to do a turnkey project at our factory and, as we always do in these situations, contractually obligated our contractor to comply with all laws in bringing in the resources they felt were needed to do the job.”
“Regarding the accident that resulted in Mr. Lesnik being injured, Cal/OSHA (the government regulator that investigates workplace accidents like these) came to our factory, investigated the incident and found that Tesla was not responsible. When Mr. Lesnik brought a workers compensation case, Tesla was dismissed from the case because the judge concluded that we had no legal responsibility for what occurred.”