Tesla Sued by Ex-Employee, Claims Firing Over Reporting Copper Heist

Tesla 4680 Battery 3D-printed model, courtesy of Reddit user u/iTriMara

Lynn Thompson, a former Tesla employee, has filed a lawsuit against his ex-employer claiming he was fired for reporting the theft of a large amount of copper from the electric vehicle (EV) maker’s battery plant near Reno, Nevada — reports Yahoo! Finance.

According to the lawsuit, millions of dollars in copper wire has been stolen from the facility to date.

Thompson says he first started alerting senior Tesla management, including CEO Elon Musk, of the theft in April 2018 after observing large amounts of copper wire being loaded into a truck and transported off-site.

By June 2018, Tesla management asked Thompson not to come by the battery plant anymore, and he was terminated soon after. Thompson says he was fired in an attempt to cover the theft up, lest the media and shareholders get wind of the stolen copper.

The complaint, filed by Thompson in federal court in Nevada, states:

Since this time, Mr. Thompson has learned that Tesla and Musk pressured contractor ONQ GLOBAL to stop allowing him on the worksite and subsequently end his work at Tesla because of the outside reporting to law enforcement and internal reporting to senior management.

The allegations claim Tesla did not want the news to leak out to the press and shareholders.

Copper is integral to the sustainable technology ecosystem, and is a key component of EV batteries. As the world moves towards sustainable energy, copper is poised to rise substantially in value. Leading copper-producing countries are already moving to sure up resources and supply chains.

Tesla is no stranger to battery cell constraints, and caches of copper being lifted off its facilities won’t help in the least. Tesla is constantly counting on advancements in battery technology to pave its way forward, especially towards more affordable EVs.