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Worker injury at Tesla

Worker injury at Tesla

There was a recent article describing underpay and an injury to a worker on the new paint facility at Tesla who was employed by a sub-contractor.

See
http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_29899028/tesla-responds-this-news... for the updated story.

Tesla has responded: https://www.teslamotors.com/blog/response-mercury-news-article-hidden-wo...

Kudos to Tesla .. I will follow this story.

Haggy | 16. Mai 2016

I don't think there's much to follow. Tesla responded appropriately, and unless they go back on their word, that's pretty much it. I don't think it's likely that there will even be a follow up.

Drdpharris | 16. Mai 2016

This made it to the CBC ... poorly written and a huge number of misinformed comments --sigh. My wife warned not to read the news comments.

afestini | 16. Mai 2016

Interesting. The way this article is presenting it, anyone having a house built should be very careful and personally inspect the papers and background of every single construction worker. Wonder how many of those outraged commenters are blissfully ignorant about how many underpaid and overworked illegal immigrants where helping to build their homes, just to allow the construction company to outbid their competition.

Blame Vuzem. If the article is right, they clearly knew what they were doing and resorted to questionable methods to make the worker shut up. Wouldn't be surprised if the only consequence for the real criminals is that they have to close shop and reopen under a different name.

Eisenmann will probably have some serious talking to do with whoever filled out those forms. Maybe a few lessons in geography, US law, common sense and not believing your subcontractor when they say "oh no, is good, must be like this, is right way to fill out form, promise".

I don't doubt that Tesla will follow through and properly compensate the workers, though I also hope there will be appropriate legal measures against Vuzem. Though again, I'm worried the people in charge will just file for bankruptcy and come back a few months later under a new name, rather than being personally held accountable and locked away for a way. Would be easier if they were in Russia...

Drdpharris | 16. Mai 2016

I agree with all you have said. Unfortunatelu it is bad press for Tesla since the uninformed jump to the conclusion that it mist be Tesla's fault.

David N | 17. Mai 2016

Article was poorly reported.
Shame on CNBC

sp_tesla | 17. Mai 2016

Not Tesla fault, they probably never going to hire this company again.

compchat | 19. Mai 2016

This guy knew what he was doing was cheating. C'mon. Don't have any sympathy for him whatsoever.

Also any injuries he sustained are covered under workers compensation in California. That's all the damages to which he is entitled by law. Period. He won't be making a fortune unless he can prove........well I don't know what he has to prove but it's a pretty substantial burden.

My question is how could he fall thirty feet and not die in the process ? Why wasn't he prosecuted for coming here illegally ?

compchat | 19. Mai 2016

BTW, I think that Tesla's response was more then generous. Apparnetly they were not his employer and therefore don't have any responsibilty to him. They should NOT be helping him in any way as they will get slapped around by his attorneys for doing so. The alleged $5.00 per hour wage was not paid by Tesla but by a subcontractor. This gentleman had the opportunity to decline the wage rate and return to his country of origin non the worse for wear. I''m guessing he wanted to stay in the USA after his Visa expired and this was just an anchor baby for him.

SCCRENDO | 19. Mai 2016

@compchat. You seem like a nice sympathetic person. poor guy was just trying to make a living. I guess Trump's wall would have kept him out and then he wouldn't have broken his legs. Many of you guys aren't in favor of workers comp anyway. How inconvenient that he fell 30 feet and didn't die. Compchat do you have a business looking for workers??? I'm sure we can recruit many to come work for you? Sounds like you would make a great employer.

compchat | 20. Mai 2016

@Sccrendo,

The guy cheated on his papers to get into the United States. He worked for a company other then Tesla. He falls at a job, in a Tesla Facility, then sues Tesla who is not his employer and has no legal responsibility to pay him anything. He is covered by worker's compensation in California unless he is an "independent contractor" (which he was not).

A living at $5.00/hour ? I can't believe that he could afford to live here and make only $5.00/hour. Something is wrong with that story. Tesla pays $52/hour for simlar employees so I can't believe that Tesla had anything to do with this accident. BTW from what I've read Cal OSHA investigated this accident and did not cite Tesla.

I tried to find a copy of the lawsuit. Anyone have a link ? It should make interesting reading.

Just take a few moments and read the links and understand that this man was not qualified to do the work he was assigned to do. I doubt he had the proper safety training. In any case he was employed by a company other than Tesla. Tesla has correctly denied all responsibility for this accident.

Brian H | 20. Mai 2016

other than

SCCRENDO | 20. Mai 2016

@Compchat. Even if he was here illegally he doesn't deserve his fate. Your attitude is totally heartless. At least Tesla is trying to do the right thing and see him right.

compchat | 21. Mai 2016

And Tesla doesn't deserve to be sued. That's the legal reality. Perhaps you would like to pay his medical bills ? While Elon was attempting to handle PR for the bleeding hearts, Tesla continues to deny any responsibility for his injury and will likely be dismissed from the case. As far as compensation the guy should be compensated by his employer.

If you had a gardener trim a palm tree at your house and that gardener fell 30 feet would you be responsible for that gardener's injuries, medical bills and long term disability payments ?

You best respond "yes" as you've already locked yourself into that position with the Tesla incident. Or maybe you will be a hypocrit and say no. The law says that 1. If the guy is an independent contractor you are not responsible 2. If the guy was working for another company you are not responsible 3. If he was working for you (e.g. you picked him up at the local Lowes and you directed him how to trim the tree) you may well be responsible for his injuries and sequela.

It's a lesson to be learned especially since the employer/employee relationship with gardeners is many times unclear. I can't very well ask a guy who doesn't speak english his legal status in the country and whether he is legally an employee or independent contractor. Nor can I ask his boss or foreman because many times they don't know or won't say. It's a problem you may face with anyone that does work in your yard or in your house (painter, electrician, carpener, plumber etc.).

That Tesla has a similar problem is not surprising but they really need to be more cautious about who they hire and whether or not their subcontractors carry adequate workers' compensation insurance on all employees. Also it's best for the employees as they get the care they need and some temporary and long term disability benefits (often not enough for severe traumatic injury).

ernie | 21. Mai 2016

A few comments from the standpoint of a General Contractor in Washington State. A properly worded contract (which I am reasonably sure Tesla signed) with the GC would have stated that the GC was responsible to follow all applicable Federal, State and Municipal laws and building codes. Usually included would be wording to the effect that all workers would be vetted for background, legal status, and often screened for drugs before hiring, after any significant injury or even randomly. In some cases, the client e.g. Tesla, would have the right to audit the records of the GC who in turn would have every sub under the same rules, restrictions and responsibilities to follow all the standards to which they are held.

Without getting into nuances of California or Federal Statutes, there are circumstances where the client can be named and with standing. It should go without saying that anyone can be sued for almost anything, but there have to be circumstances which give the plaintiff some tenable ground on which to stand.

Many contractors are figuratively pulling their hair out in an effort to compete with contractors who are cutting corners, not paying legitimately earned overtime or even Prevailing Wage or wages which conform to the requirements under the Davis Bacon Act. This Tesla job was not a Davis Bacon job, but firms often do not pay appropriately.

Further, firms often do not make the workers “permanent”, but classify them as “temporary” and no or reduced benefits are paid. Then when the jobs are to a certain point, the original bill is supplemented due to some “unforeseen” situation. The final costs often exceed what the correct bid should have been. This is especially true when municipalities and school districts are involved. Such entities often step up to pay inflated bills to ensure the workers get paid and then they have to turn around and sue for the over-payment. In the following case, the cost of mold remediation was more than twice what the remediation firm bid, and the results were unsatisfactory and the final bill should have been more. Students may now be subjected to high mold spore and off-gassing conditions. Now there is litigation. http://www.goskagit.com/news/contractor-sues-la-conner-school-district/a...

We sometimes lose bids on such projects to companies which lack equipment, manpower, training or the ability to do jobs properly as the lowest bid usually rules. Then the suit(s) start(s). Tesla will be suing. I have an idea they will be policing their GC’s more closely on other projects.

compchat | 23. Mai 2016

I'm not an attorney nor are you as you state. I do evaluate a lot of worker's compensation claims from the medical aspect. I know that if you are an independent contractor and not an employee Tesla need not carry worker's compensation insurance on you. Where this gets confusing is the nuances of the term "employee". As a company I would be very careful telling a worker how to do a job. If he gets injured the company might be held responsible because under certain circumstances they would consider this "contractor" to be an employee. Best to make certain when hiring a subcontractor to make certain they have adequate workers comp insurance on their employees.

JMO and from a non legal professional.

brando | 23. Mai 2016

The sub-contractor had to get the visa for this guy.

"... visa application described specialized skills and said he was a supervisor headed to a South Carolina auto plant.

Turns out, that wasn’t true.

The unemployed electrician had no qualifications to oversee American workers and spoke only a sentence or two of English. He never set foot in South Carolina. The companies that arranged his questionable visa instead sent Lesnik to a menial job in Silicon Valley. He earned the equivalent of $5 an hour to expand the plant for one of the world’s most sophisticated companies, Tesla Motors."

I think it is the State Department that approves B1 and B2 visas. So someone should be paying fines and possibly going to jail for US Federal law violations. You don't get a work visa without a company claiming they can't find qualified US workers for the job. Foreign contractors/companies can not bring in menial labors. AND they must get visas for their supervisors to work here. We don't know if this guy understood the fraud going on. The company surely understood. Was the State Department person who signed off on the visa in on this scam? We don't know.

jimglas | 25. Februar 2019

Troll flagged

jimglas | 26. Februar 2019

troll flagged

rxlawdude | 05. März 2019

@greed, flagged for douchebagggery link.

carlk | 05. März 2019

Flagged.