So what could possibly have been printed to get Tesla bosses so upset as to file a lawsuit?
The story from PingWest paints a very sad picture of the working conditions at the factory (“Giga-sweatshop,” they call it), from the environment of office bullying to increased demands and decreased benefits, extended and unpaid working hours, and the overall feeling of complete dehumanization of staff. The Gigafactory, it is claimed, was once heaven but has since turned into hell. If you’re into that sort of imagery.
The expose cites unnamed sources saying all types of horrible and unprofessional stories. Those include calling a junior worker back to the office even though he was on leave at his father’s funeral, receiving stale bread and instant noodles for “snacks” during long hours, not having their complaints and concerns addressed, and generally being made to feel as if they don’t matter. “If you can do it, then do it. If you can’t, just leave” is apparently a favorite line with managers.
Then, there’s another, perhaps more serious claim being made: Tesla is knowingly selling vehicles with defective parts to keep up with deadlines and increased demand. One source even claims the cars now leaving the assembly line are “essentially” defective from the start, with Tesla allegedly operating on the reasoning that they can fix whatever comes back without issuing recalls or admitting guilt. Or, better yet, that they can keep up with increased demand by lowering pre-delivery inspection standards instead of fixing what’s wrong with the cars.
The piece also namedrops several people within Tesla’s chain of command that are responsible for all that’s wrong at the Gigafactory. Among them is Tom Zhu (Zhu Xiaotong), Tesla’s Global Vice President and President for Greater China. He's claimed to be the one who instigated the current trend of corporate bullying, demanding that employees be on call 24/7 and asking that staff be monitored, censored and essentially terrorized, so they’re kept in check.
Tesla has not issued any statement regarding the ongoing litigation and, even if it still had a PR department, it still couldn’t say much about it. However, the fact that it’s suing over the story is meant to send a very clear message: none of what has been said is true.