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Former Tesla employee fires back at lawsuit, claims he’s a whistleblower

Martin Tripp, a former process technician for Tesla, is fighting back after receiving a lawsuit from the Elon Musk-led company. Speaking to the media, Tripp alleged that he only shared data with outside parties because he was trying to warn investors and the public about Tesla’s questionable activities.

In a statement to CNN Money, Tripp stated that he was being “singled out” by Tesla for being a whistleblower. Tripp also denied hacking into Tesla’s system, stating that he went to the media because he was alarmed by the data he was collecting.

“I am being singled out for being a whistleblower. I didn’t hack into (the) system. The data I was collecting was so severe; I had to go to the media,” Tripp said.

Tripp alleged that he had discovered 1,100 damaged Model 3 battery modules that were installed on the compact electric cars, as well as excessive scrap that was being stored in a dangerous manner in Tesla’s Nevada property. The former process technician also alleged that Tesla inflated the number of Model 3 produced during the first quarter, stating that the number was closer to 1,900 instead of Tesla’s official 2,020 figure. In a statement to the Washington Post, Tripp stated that he was ultimately disenchanted with Tesla during his tenure with the company. 

“I looked up to Elon, I looked up to Tesla. I was always drooling about the Teslas and wanting to buy one, and I was living the mission: to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. (I) grew disillusioned after seeing the company’s waste, unsustainable practices and seeing how Elon was lying to investors about how many cars they were making. I wanted to leave the world better for my son, and I felt I was doing everything but that,” he said.

Tripp has stated that he is currently looking for a lawyer, and official protections as a whistleblower.

Tripp’s allegations towards the company stand in stark contrast to Tesla’s claims in its lawsuit, which it filed in a Nevada court on Wednesday. According to Tesla’s complaint, Tripp had engaged in several activities against the interests of the company, including hacking the manufacturing operating system, exporting confidential data to outside entities, and misreporting to the media. In the lawsuit’s background, Tesla stated that Tripp had begun his employment with the company on October 2017, though he was reassigned to a new role on May 2018 due to job performance problems and his tendency to be combative and disruptive towards his colleagues.

The electric car and energy company alleged that Tripp had hacked the Tesla Manufacturing Operating System and transferred several gigabytes worth of confidential and proprietary data, including photos and a video of Tesla’s battery module production line, to outside entities. Tesla’s lawsuit further alleged that Trip had attempted to recruit additional sources inside Gigafactory 1 to share data outside the company. Tesla is suing Tripp over violations of the Defend Trade Secrets Act, the Nevada Uniform Trade Secrets Act, and the Nevada Computer Crimes Law, as well as Breach of Contract and Breach of Fiduciary Duty of Loyalty.

The full text of Tesla’s lawsuit against Martin Tripp could be accessed here.

This past weekend, Elon Musk sent out a company-wide email stating that the company had been a victim of a rather “extensive and damaging sabotage.” While Tesla has identified Tripp as the offender behind some of the attacks against the company, the company’s lawsuit did not include the word “sabotage” in its complaint against the former employee.

Tesla is currently attempting to hit its Model 3 production goals for the second quarter, and over the past few weeks, the company has shown encouraging signs that it is approaching its goal. Earlier this month, Elon Musk stated that Tesla is producing 500 cars a day, and just recently, a photo of the first Model 3 Performance Dual Motor being rolled off a new assembly line was shared on Twitter.

Former Tesla employee fires back at lawsuit, claims he’s a whistleblower
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