Tesla has reportedly fired an estimated 400 to 700 workers that failed to meet their performance benchmarks, including Fremont factory workers, managers, engineers, administrative staff, and sales positions. The dismissals took place this week and comes a week after Tesla announced that it had reached an all-time best quarter for Model S and X deliveries, but fell short on meeting its Model 3 guidance.
A Tesla spokesperson confirmed this week’s dismissals, noting that the departures were not layoffs and a result of company-wide performance reviews. “As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures,” said Tesla as first reported by the The Mercury News. Tesla did not confirm the number of departures that took place but noted that the company will continue to hire and expects to fill the vast majority of new openings. “Tesla is continuing to grow and hire new employees around the world.” said the Tesla spokesperson.
Because the departures were a result of performance reviews and not considered to be layoffs, Tesla was not required to report the dismissals to the state Employment Development Department.
Tesla’s letting go of staff comes at a crucial time for the Silicon Valley-based tech company that’s been investing billions into manufacturing and infrastructure as it aims to deliver on CEO Elon Musk’s vision of the future. The company’s high profile, mass market Model 3 has remained in the spotlight amid concerns that volume production may be significantly delayed. Tesla is also expected to unveil a new semi-truck next month, begin volume production of its Solar Roof tiles from its Gigafactory 2 plant in New York, while also ramping up battery cell production for the company’s line of Powerwall and Powerpack battery storage solutions.
In addition, Tesla is under scrutiny by the National Labor Relations Board over factory worker complaints that the company has prevented their efforts to unionize. The Mercury News reports that some of the employees fired believe they were singled out because of their open views against the company’s anti-union beliefs.