Female Engineer Sues Tesla For Sexual Harassment

Tyler Durden's picture

Just days after former Uber engineer Susan Fowler alleged in a viral blogpost that that management and HR dismissed her complaints about documented sexual harassment and sexism, protected a repeat offender because he was a “high performer” and suggested that women in the company were not as skilled as men, another female engineer - this time at Tesla - has accused Elon Musk’s car company of ignoring her complaints of “pervasive harassment”, paying her a lower salary than men doing the same work, promoting less qualified men over her and retaliating against her for raising concerns.

The reason why first the Uber, and now the Tesla allegations will likely shake Silicon Valley to the core, is that if confirmed, this bastion of liberal tolerance may end up being yet another hypocritical myth, with corporate prerogatives and the bottom line driving everything.

The allegations of AJ Vandermeyden, who voiced her complaints to the Guardian, and who still works at the celebrated electric car manufacturer, "paint a picture of a hostile work environment dominated by men where inappropriate sexual behavior is tolerated and women face numerous barriers to advance their careers."

Offering a rare public account of discrimination from a tech worker who remains employed at her company, Vandermeyden said her dedication to Tesla motivated her to advocate for fair treatment and reforms – despite the serious risks she knows she faces for going public.


Until somebody stands up, nothing is going to change,” she said in a recent interview, her first comments about a discrimination lawsuit she filed last year. “I’m an advocate of Tesla. I really do believe they are doing great things. That said, I can’t turn a blind eye if there’s something fundamentally wrong going on.”


Vandermeyden began at Tesla in 2013 and was eventually promoted to a manufacturing engineering position in the general assembly department, which consisted mostly of men and where she was paid less than male engineers whose work she directly took over, according to her complaint. It was common for her to be the only woman in meetings with 40 to 50 men, she said on a recent morning, seated in the living room of her family’s house in San Carlos, the city where Tesla was founded, located across the bay from its current factory in Fremont.

Another example: Vandermeyden recounted to the Guardian an incident in 2015 when she said a group of roughly 20 men standing on a platform above her and a female colleague began taunting as they walked past. “They all started hooting and hollering and whistling,” she said. “That can’t happen without somebody noticing … It’s disturbing.”

But her objections about sexual harassment and unequal pay only caused her more trouble, according to her complaint. The lawsuit alleges that after she raised concerns in the fall of 2015, management told her that in order to advance her position, she needed to achieve a performance standard in the factory that was unattainable and not expected of male engineers.

There is much more in the full article, but the jist is clear: while there has been a mounting pressure in the Valley to address allegations latent sexism, so far it has been mostly ignored and instead was projected externally, with the idealistic denizens of the rich enclave focusing on "social evils" far away from the California, ideally slamming Trump. Should more such accusers emerge - and they are virtually assured now that the seal has been broken - Silicon Valley may have no choice but to forget the evils of the outside worlds, look inside, and change what some have said is a very hyporcritical corporate culture.

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Bryan's picture

Why does it have to be about her gender?  Maybe she's just a whiney, crappy employee.  Is she progressive liberal?  That would explain it.

1980XLS's picture

From the looks of her, she probably was wishing to be sexually harrased, only disappointed when there were no takers.

DontGive's picture

Shes gunning for a pay raise.

No wait. Retirement (after a lawsuit).

Pladizow's picture

Why are wedding dresses white?

Because all house hold appliances come in white.

847328_3527's picture

So Libtards Uber and Tesla have been grabbing some pussy?

Karma is a bitch!

Bytor325's picture

The correct punchline is: "so the dishwasher will match the refrigerator and stove "

Trucker Glock's picture

What's the first thing a woman does when she's released from a battered womens' shelter?

The dishes, if she knows what's good for her.

Trucker Glock's picture

What do you do when your dishwasher quits working?

Smack her on the ass and tell her to get back to work.

1980XLS's picture

Seems to be all the rage.


SIG halted


Jared bagholders taking a $5 footlong up the ass.






Joe Davola's picture

A good defense lawyer going after her credibility would start with her statement that "Tesla's doing great things"

Bastiat's picture

That's just it--there's no way of knowing what the real story is.  Not worth reporting.

Ghost of Porky's picture

"Nerds whistled at me. Money will ease my suffering"


There's the story.

Bastiat's picture

Maybe, maybe not.  The story's a Rorschach blot.

BlindMonkey's picture

This is my all time favorite ZH comment.  Thanks!

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

What kills me is that nerds are typically scared of their own shadow, let alone an actual woman. We have an introverted delivery driver who comes to our office and he starts in on a stream of consciousness speech whenever he delivers to our admin lady ( from topics ranging from the epic of gilgamesh, to today's news ). She figured he was some sort of over bearing pervert. I told her to get the fuck over herself, he's a nerd and he's ( rightly ) scared of her.

anarchitect's picture

Precisely so.  And what do you expect when the ratio of men:women is what it is?  If it were reversed, I imagine some men would get whistled at.

The tech industry is so competitive, and good talent is so difficult to find, that they can't afford to overlook qualified women.  Individual managers might, but any company that is even passably competent will weed them out, especially with the oversight provided by HR departments nowadays.

Then again, Tesla isn't really in the tech industry.  If it weren't for federal subsidies and Musk's wealth, it would be an absolute non-starter.

espirit's picture


It sounds like her human genome is more closely related to the bonobo than to the chimpanzee genome.


earlyberd's picture

Why do men have such a problem with women speaking up about sexism in the workplace? Got a small dick or something?

Oh noes those uppity womens, asking for better pay. Almost like they learned how to negotiate from those shitheaded men.

Bryan's picture

Define "sexism", and what the evidence is, and we'll go from there.


I don't have a problem with women speaking out about sexism & sexual harassment in the workplace, but immature little boys do have a problem with it because they have yet to mature, and develop as adults. Engineering is notorious for discrimination against women because it is essentially a male dominated bastion of sexual immaturity & social regression. Moreover, I, for one, think that immature males in Engineering are afraid of women becoming their bosses, and they engage in gender harassment so that they can collectively protect themselves, and their weak immature personalities, from growing up like real men. Bottom line is that real men are confident enough, and secure enough, in terms of their own ability to not participate in groups of little immature boys that reinforce their insecurities in terms of sexuality by harassing women sexually.


Men that harass women sexually are not able to form relationships with women other than their mothers. They are pathetic individuals that don't understand how to develop into mature adults that are able to accept women as equals.

Blankone's picture

I am not sure what parts of engineering you have been around but all the segments I have been associated with have provided women with increased opportunities.  Women were sought out and extra effort made to advance them. There was no "gender harassment" but at time resentment due to women engineers being allowed to arrive late or avoid periods of brutal overtime due to "children". 


Mechanical Engineering Carleton University & Particle Physics Carleton University. I was a Teaching Assistant for Architecture graduate students at Carleton University as well. Moreover, I am a Mechanical Engineering Technician - Tool Making & Mechanical Design. I also have a B.A. Honours in Experimental Psychology, and that's how I became a TA in university. Methinks the university hired me for a TA position in Architecture because I was well trained in the Social Sciences, and the Architecture students were uneducated in terms of Social Sciences. Furthermore, a number of my siblings are female, and I was brought up to respect women rather than denigrate them. I also wrote my B.A. Honours Thesis on Bertha Pappenheim, Sigmund Freud, and Joseph Breuer.

mrbyrite's picture

I was brought up to respect women rather than denigrate them.


Finally, we get to the root of the problem

Blankone's picture

That was unclear.  Did you receive a BS in mechanical engineering?  Mechanical Engineering Tech can mean various things including being a tradesman.  Did you take and pass the EIT in mechanical engineering, graduate with a degree and begin practicing engineering design under a professional engineer?  Do you now have a professional engineers license?

TA for Architecture is a nice student job, BA psychology might be interesting, but none of it applies to the practice of professional engineering in the real world and of course it does not give you work experience in an engineering office.



I am an expert in Metrology, and I am a Mechanical Engineering Technician with a specialization in Tool Making. I went to college for Mechanical Engineering and graduated with a 2 year diploma as a Mechanical Engineering Technician. Then, after Wall Street deinstitutionalized Manufacturing in North America, and sold my career down the river to China & Mexico, I decided to go back to school, but I chose university instead of another college course. I chose Experimental Psychology because I knew that if I became a Psychologist I would never be unemployed. When I entered university I needed a job so I applied for a Metrology position in Herzberg High Energy Physics for the ARGUS Microvertex Particle Detector build that the Physics & Mechanical Engineering departments were building for the CERN Geneva Large Hadron Collider. I taught the Mechanical Engineers & Physicists how to build an appropriate Clean Room, and I taught them how to measure accurately down to half a micron for the jewels that were being utilized in the build. The P.Eng that hired me walked me around to all the Physicists in the Department of Physics in Herzberg High Energy Physics to see if the Physicists knew what I knew about Metrology after I taught him how to measure down to half a micron for the build. Not one Engineer or Physicist knew what I know about Metrology in Mechanical Engineering. Bottom line is that I know more about Metrology than most Scientists or Mechanical Engineers in Physics or Mechanical Engineering. And the ARGUS Microvertex Particle Detector that I built has been a part of the array of particle detectors in the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva Switzerland since 1990 when it was officially installed in the largest scientific experiment that has ever been conducted in the world to date.


When it comes to Mechanical Engineering I am an expert at Metrology & Tool Making, as well as Tool Design.

Blankone's picture

I commend you for getting some specialized education and finding a nich.  But you are not a degreed engineer, have not worked as a professional engineer or an EIT in the world.  Your experience is that of a tech (sorry, two year degree does not an EIT make) as far as engineering.

However, you have developed yourself into a valuable asset with a high degree of expertise in a technical area.  And are the resource for the expertise of measurement for the engineers and Physicists in the University. But back to the point, you do not have experience as an engineer in an engineering company or as an engineer in a business company.  This is why your view of how women engineers are treated in the business world is so different than what I and others have seen.

Women engineers are golden.  Especially with large companies - be they manufacturing, consulting or industrial such as chemical plants.  Now, women engineers walking around a construction site might get a little hoot but never have I seen an employee get away with doing so.  But I have not been around an auto manufacturing site.


I also worked for Hovey Engineering Inc., Globus Tool & Die High Production Aerospace Parts Manufacturing, E.B. Eddy Forest Products Ltd, & Milimeter Precision High Production Machining, as a Mechanical Engineering Technician. Clearly, I have worked around enough P.Eng to know what goes on in the real world of manufacturing & high production machining. Professional Engineers don't know shit-from-shine-O-La compared to moi. Moreover, I am the engineer of the demise of the Western Empire, and I know more about Metrology in Macro-Economics than all the elite Economists in the entire effin' fucking world put together.


No shit.



Blankone's picture

You did not work in any of those places as an engineer, but as a tech.  Just like a drafter does not have a good preception of the engineers world.

Does not matter of your other education outside of engineering in this regards.  Your other education/talents may even supply greater financial rewards (I would expect so) and provide the oppotunity to be a consultant but it still does not give you the background regarding the engineers work enviroment.


I am the guy that reverse engineered Wall Street & Neoliberal Macro-Economics throughout the entire Western World so I could engineer the implosion of Global Economics worldwide. When the Western Empire completely implodes, and you are running through the streets with your fucking hair on fire please think of me, and my engineering skills. Moreover, when Thermonuclear Hot World War Three manifests please think of me once again. When you are fighting for your very life to survive please think of me, and my engineering skills. And remember that I told you that I know more about Macro-Economics than all the elite Economists in the entire world combined. Additionally, when Nuclear Winter sets in please remember that I told you that I am much more adept at Metrology than all the God-damned Professional Engineers & Economists in the entire world combined.


And I don't give a fuck if I don't have a God-damed degree in Engineering because I did not need one to reverse engineer the worldwide Global Banking System so that I could implode it just like the CIA imploded WTC 1, 2, & Building 7.


Stick that in your degreed pipe & smoke it, Blankone!



chiquita's picture

I am not sure what parts of engineering you have been around but all the segments I have been associated with have provided women with increased opportunities. 


And I'm not sure where you've worked or if you've worked anywhere as a woman.  I spent most of my 40+ year career in large and small corporate engineering departments and was discriminated against, paid less than the men, was harassed and laid off before the men because of gender bias.   I've already documented my background in this regard here in the past.  I won't rehash it other than to say to those of you who are saying "nerds" don't hit on or harass women, think again.  I was a fairly hot ticket when I was younger (not too bad now either) and I was absolutely hit on and harassed by "nerds" in the workplace.  Just because you don't think they have the balls to come on to women doesn't make it so.  They're still men--at least most of them--and they do what most men do when they think they might have a shot at a good looking, sexy woman, especially if she's being nice to them so she can get her job done.  Men are men--nerds or superstars.  Some are just a little nicer than others.

I've read through the previous comments and hope some of you guys don't have women close to you in your lives because they'd be ashamed of your attitudes towards women.  Every one of you has least a mother,  if not sisters, wives, girlfriends (and/or), and possibly daughters, nieces, and aunts--maybe even grandmothers.  Most, if not all, of these women probably work or will work and they do not deserve the kind of hatred you spew.  I hope you treat them better than you talk about women to the world at large.  It doesn't reflect well on you.   Every last one of you came from a woman and don't forget it.  If you can't appreciate the pain of that, then go out and have someone--can be a man if you prefer--kick you in the balls about 20 times and then call your mother and thank her for your miserable life.



Don't let these immature little bastards get to you, Chiquita. They are mindless uneducated jerks that disrespect women because they hate women, and they resent the power that their mothers have over them. I have seen enough discrimination against women to last a lifetime, and every day I keep seeing more. What these guys need is a reality check, but until they get it they will continue being immature & mindless fucktards not worthy of the time it takes to educate them. Narrow minded does not even remotely characterize their juvenile & imbecilic nature. cheers, eh!

New_Meat's picture

Oh Master

"Engineering is notorious for discrimination against women..."

Prolly it isn't "Engineering" that discriminates but rather "Differential Equations" and the mathiness that leads up to them. It is ordinary and it is the basic screening process that goes into any discipline.

You should consult Larry Summers, especially for his hysterical account questioning why women don't do as well as men with math subjects.

You should also consult how to avoid displaying your psychobabble in even these semi-public arenas.  You are so judgmental and are embarrasing yourself.

- Ned


Notice how Lawrence Samuelson Summers ain't the President of Harvard anymore, eh.

New_Meat's picture

she was, well, hysterical.

And Saul taught them all well, from Aristotle to "the Politics of Personal Destruction."

Doesn't change his question, though, does it?  The World's Most Perfect University didn't get closer to an answer, either.

poeg's picture

Idiocy. Engineering is notorious for being stratified along expertise. The greater the education of the engineer, the less patience they have for other engineers who need things explained to them. That's a gender agnostic practice and one that also breaks language barriers. People lie, math doesn't.


You may now get in line to lick my balls in deference to my intellect & intelligence over your own, poeg.

Billy the Poet's picture

Why do men have such a problem with women speaking up about sexism in the workplace? Got a small dick or something?

Stop being so binary. Women have small dicks too.

espirit's picture

HaHa, good one.

Dude, looks like a lady.

NAVIGATOR0832's picture

Freund called it "penis envy"

MaxThrust's picture

If women has penises and we had the money hole, I would not mind getting shafted from time to time.

Blankone's picture

Asking for better pay or trying to negotiate for it is not an issue.  Claiming sexism to get it and using the threat of making allegations of sexism to get promoted or increased pay is a problem.

If true, I would still think the men who whistled at her were blue collar workers in the manufacturing segment.

From her own statements - Vandermeyden began at Tesla in 2013 and was eventually promoted to a manufacturing engineering position in the general assembly department, which consisted mostly of men and where she was paid less than male engineers whose work she directly took over, according to her complaint. It was common for her to be the only woman in meetings with 40 to 50 men

So - she only started in 2013 and was already promoted ( I assume after only 2 years)

She says the dept was mostly men - Sorry, that is not a micro aggression against her even if it does not meet her perfect world.

Paid less than the engineers she replaced - This has to be expanded upon.  I would assume the engineers she replaced were moved up and she was given more responsibility or a promotion.  When that occurs you usually start at the lower pay range for that job and the person who left has usually been doing it longer (and been with the company longer) and was at the upper pay range for that job.  Remember she started in 2013.

In a meeting with 40 men.  Is having to be in those meetings with men a threat to her safety?  How was attending meetings with men an oppression on her?  Is she just complaining about there not being half women, and so she quit?

She was given clear performance requirements.  Now she claims they were unobtainable and no one else had them.  Unobtainable for her?  If no one else in her position had them then her lawyer should be able to demonstrate that in court.  I have seen where a poor employee fails to perform and throws up their hands claiming they do not know what is expected.  Then the trying task of writting down everything in detail for them to do their job is started.  (A white guy just gets let go.)

DaveA's picture

This is exactly why women have no place in an engineering environment: Everything is personal to them.

Every time a man says anything, it's because he's a loser with a small dick. The concept, essential to engineering, that there exists objective truth independent of anyone's feelings, is utterly foreign to the female mind.

quesnay's picture

I think women have a place in the engineering, but I like you second comment, because isn't it ironic that someone claiming to advocate equality automatically calls out any man that disagrees as "a loser with a small dick". Ya, no sexism there ...

Big Brother's picture

"The concept, essential to engineering, that there exists objective truth independent of anyone's feelings,"


This is and will only ever be the reason why I am an engineer.  Oo-rah!

georgekaplan's picture

So true!  I'm a woman and become more like a man every day:)  I often need to say "no" at work, and many managers think I should sugarcoat it.  I respond that people should grow some balls....hahaha. 

quesnay's picture

I'm an engineer. How much you get paid is how much you negotiate during your hiring process. If you feel you are worth more, then you ask for more or you don't take the job and you go work somewhere else. If you are a crappy negotiator and are paid less than you peers, that's your own fault, no one elses. If later on you feel you are being underpaid, you ask for a raise and if the disparity between your worth and what you are paid is too high, you leave. At least those are the rules for 'men'. Apparantly women are supposed to automatically be paid the highest amounts, whether they are worth it or not. And you can't say "sorry that's too high" or you are 'sexist'. Market forces don't apply to them ...

Misean's picture

Why do women take careers in male dominated fields and demand that they all behave the way she wants them to?

CJgipper's picture

Sexism?  You mean like where women get hired for being women and men get looked over for hiring and promotions to make quota?

Bryan's picture

Or maybe most of the harrassing men are trans-something or metrosexuals or leftists... could be the issue right there.