Tesla employees claim they were penalized for using paid time off
© Greg Nash

Current and former Tesla employees claim they were unfairly penalized or fired for taking sick days, according to an investigation by The Guardian published Tuesday.

Numerous workers allege the company threatened to fire or discipline them for taking sick days, the outlet reported.

Jennifer Peercy, a mother of four who began working as a customer care agent for the company in Las Vegas last August, claimed she was fired for accepting other employees’ offerings of their own time off to help her manage child care needs.


Peercy told the paper that management told her time off wasn't transferrable between employees; she said she stopped taking time and alleged she was fired two weeks later for doing so. 

“If I knew that, I never would have taken it,” she told The Guardian. “I’m 22 weeks pregnant without a job or income and four girls to care for.”

Peercy told the outlet that she is applying for unemployment and searching for jobs in the meantime, though she hopes to return to Tesla. She reportedly provided her letter of termination and an email she sent to Tesla CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskHillicon Valley: Google, Reddit to testify on tech industry protections | Trump joins Amazon-owned Twitch | House to vote on bill to combat foreign interference NASA targeting early 2020 for first manned SpaceX mission Hillicon Valley: Senate Intel report urges action to prevent 2020 Russian meddling | Republicans warn Microsoft of 'urgent' Huawei threat | Court rules FBI surveillance violated Americans' rights MORE, which she said resulted in another letter from an HR employee acknowledging her termination. 

“While we’re sympathetic to her personal situation and work hard to do the right thing by our employees, using another employee’s personal information to obtain their benefits – with or without their permission – violates the benefit policy, jeopardizes employee’s access to those benefits and is not appropriate behavior we can support,” a Tesla spokesperson told the paper.

Maggie Aranda, a worker at the automaker’s plant in Fremont, Calif., claimed she was fired in June after 19 months with the company for using her phone to communicate with her husband, who was on medical leave.

Her husband Carlos, who was also a Tesla employee, submitted his resignation shortly after but was allegedly told he had been involuntarily terminated two days later. The couple told the outlet that they are currently homeless since losing their jobs and are seeking to crowdfund via GoFundMe.

A company spokesperson told the Guardian that Maggie Aranda was fired for using her cellphone at work and that Carlos was fired for an unspecified tweet that violated company standards.

Several current employees at the Fremont facility told The Guardian that the company operates under a points-system attendance policy. Employees alleged that the system creates negative incentives for taking sick days and withholds promotions.

“I didn’t get leveled up even after two years of being a team lead because I had a couple of days where I was two minutes late to clock in because the parking lot was so hard to find spots,” a Tesla employee who requested anonymity told the newspaper.

The company’s official attendance policy, obtained by The Guardian, includes an attendance point system which holds that workers who have been at Tesla longer than three months face termination if they accumulate 4.5 attendance points in a six-month period. The policy was updated June 23, according to the outlet

A spokesperson denied the policy punishes the use of paid time off and declined to comment about the policy or why it was revised recently.  

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.