Thomas Flessner was hired as a materials engineer at Tesla’s Fremont factory back in 2012, and was let go in February of this year. He’s now suing Tesla for age discrimination, claiming that he was frequently isolated by his coworkers and bosses for his older age, which ultimately led to him being fired.
According to the lawsuit filed last Thursday, Flessner claims he was unlawfully fired following years of “unfair comments and criticism about his age” by coworkers and supervisors.
“Furthermore,” the complaint says, “the younger engineers were not criticized for the speed of their work by [supervisor Paul] Edwards even though they did not accomplish their projects any faster than plaintiff.”
Paul Edwards is named repeatedly in the complaint and Flessner says Edwards singled him out by canceling meetings with him, ignoring his contributions, and criticizing him more sternly than his coworkers.
The suit also claims that the situation worsened for Flessner after taking time off for a surgery concerning congestive heart failure, with a supervisor allegedly telling him, “These guys are gunning for you.”
Age discrimination suits are unfortunately common among Silicon Valley companies (and Tesla claims it’s more of a tech company than an automaker), with Google, Facebook, Twitter and other major companies facing similar lawsuits and accusations.
A Tesla spokesperson told Fusion:
While we aren’t commenting on the specifics of this litigation, we are committed to upholding a discrimination-free workplace.