A female engineer who said she endured sexual discrimination and harassment at Tesla is out of a job. The company has fired AJ Vandermeyden over the complaints, reports the Guardian. Tesla hired an outside attorney to investigate Vandermeyden's accusations, per Business Insider, and concluded that she was lying and thus unfit to work at the company. Vandermeyden's attorney, however, says the firing is blatant retaliation and plans to file a formal complaint with the state to that effect. Vandermeyden started working at Tesla in 2013 and says she was paid less than her male counterparts and unjustly passed over for promotions. She also alleges the company tolerated catcalls and abusive language. She filed suit and went public with the allegations in an interview with the Guardian in February.
"After we carefully considered the facts on multiple occasions and were absolutely convinced that Ms. Vandermeyden's claims were illegitimate, we had no choice but to end her employment at Tesla," says a company spokesperson. "They've just proven our case," fires back Vandermeyden attorney Therese Lawless. The development comes amid a backdrop of similar allegations in Silicon Valley, including Uber, and as Tesla's working conditions in particular have come under scrutiny, notes the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Three HR execs have left this year, and CEO Elon Musk issued a memo to employees defending the "hardcore and demanding" pace as a necessity to compete with "giant, entrenched competitors." (Meanwhile, Tesla just earned some serious bragging rights against those competitors.)