Residents in Peabody, Mass. will be lucky if the temperature tops 46 degrees (5˚ C) today. But today is March. In five months time the mercury in thermometers could well be registering close to triple figures (38˚ C), and workers in offices and workshops across the city will be praying their air conditioning doesn’t break down.
However, former Tesla regional service manager Benjamin Simon wasn’t praying the air conditioning would hold up during the four heatwaves Boston experienced in 2021. He was praying the company would listen to his pleas and actually install a cold air system on the shop floor in its Peabody site.
Simon claims he had warned Tesla several times that year that the working environment in the shop was unsafe due to “dangerous temperatures,” and had tried to persuade the automaker to do something about it, Bloomberg reports. But according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, Simon was ultimately fired for making a fuss and now wants compensation for lost wages, benefits and stock options, plus damages for emotional distress.
Despite being told by his bosses that Tesla wouldn’t sanction spending the kind of money that would buy a brand new Model X to install air conditioning in just one location, Simon escalated his complaints, allegedly resulting in him being stripped of the responsibility of supervising eight dealerships. He was ultimately fired a month later over an issue related to use of a company vehicle, but Simon claims this was just an excuse to punish him for making a fuss over the hot conditions.
Tesla disagrees and is fighting Simon’s claim. “Tesla maintains that plaintiff is not entitled to any relief whatsoever,” Anthony Califano, the automakers attorney, said as Tesla’s legal team petitioned to have the case moved to federal court.