Tesla attorneys wrote in their lawsuit that Tripp, a former technician at the company's Gigafactory battery plant in Nevada, wrote software to aid in an elaborate theft of confidential photos and video of Tesla's manufacturing systems.
Tripp claimed that he leaked Tesla information to a reporter for Business Insider as he felt his concerns were being ignored at the company: "I kept bringing this up to management, supervisors, anyone who would listen", he said. The ex-employee alleges the Gigafactory has installed punctured batteries in some Tesla Model 3 electric cars. A new report has emerged that points out the job cuts aren't just happening at the company's electric vehicle division.
It has only been a handful of days since Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed there was a saboteur within the organisation who had allegedly changed code in the firm's manufacturing systems and exported data to third parties outside the company.
"Tripp also made false claims about the information he stole from Tesla", the company's lawsuit alleges.
"You're a disgusting human being", the head of Tesla Elon Musk wrote in a tense email exchange between himself and Mr Tripp, seen by BBC News.
A man who answered a call Wednesday at a number believed to be Tripp's said he did not know Tripp. "Notably, there have been zero battery safety issues in any Model 3".
Musk urged employees to guard against "outside forces" (specifically "Wall Street short-sellers" and "oil & gas companies") as the company increased production. During the investors' event, Musk noted that Tesla would be doing another 1 GWh project less than a year from now, with more growth set to happen within the next few years. The closures had not yet been disclosed, but are part of the 9% workforce cuts announced last week, Reuters said. But we didn't learn that until Tesla filed a lawsuit against him on Wednesday. Shortly after the lawsuit was made public, Tripp gave interviews to both CNN and the Washington Post stating he was seeking official legal protection. The suit also accuses him of giving false information to journalists, being "disruptive and combative" in the workplace and attempting to rope other co-workers into his scheme. Musk told The Guardian the company had received a call this week that Tripp "was going to come back and shoot people" at the factory. "The data I was collecting was so severe; I had to go to the media", Tripp told CNBC.
"These decisions had a negative impact on our deployments but created a positive impact on our cash generation", Tesla said in its first-quarter letter to shareholders.
Tesla did not comment on which sites it planned to close down or how many of their employees would lose their jobs.
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