At Tesla, employees are expected to solve substantive work problems by communicating with anyone at any level or department within the company according to what is the fastest way to achieve the best possible solution. This is fundamental to how communication works at Tesla, and reflects the importance of putting the best interest of the company ahead of any particular department. However, this obviously doesn’t mean that employees should use this openness to advance their own personal agenda – the opposite is true – or that every time employees raise an issue within the company, that means there really is a problem or that they have the right solution or approach in mind. It also doesn’t mean that every email sent to senior Tesla leaders (particularly emails that are not relevant to our mission or the job at hand, or are clearly suspect or misleading) warrants a response, especially when they are already being looked into.
Anyone looking objectively at Ms. Balan’s theories can see that they are patently false, and frankly, completely nonsensical.
While at the company, Ms. Balan made a number of inaccurate claims about our selection of particular suppliers and supposed quality issues, all of which were investigated extensively and found to be entirely without merit.
For example, Ms. Balan was unhappy with a particular supplier that was selected by an internal group of subject matter experts who extensively studied the issue.
She took it upon herself to find an alternative supplier that had no prior relevant experience and that had failed a mandatory site inspection, and was upset when that supplier was not chosen.
Additionally, with respect to complaints she made about the fabric headliners we were using, when some of them did not perfectly fit into vehicles, Tesla modified the headliner and the B-pillar sill by inserting a piece of foam to ensure a proper fit. Ms. Balan disagreed with Tesla’s engineering solution and subjectively perceived an “issue” when Tesla’s solution did not match her personal sense of what the company should have done.
She also admitted that the “issue” did not impact vehicle safety in any way.
Rather than working on her assignments, Ms. Balan spent company time working on a “secret project” without her manager’s approval and
booked an unapproved trip to New York at Tesla’s expense to visit a potential supplier for her own personally-created project.
She also illegally recorded internal conversations within Tesla without anyone’s permission, which is clearly criminal conduct.
”Finally, contrary to Ms. Balan’s claims, despite her own misconduct, she was never fired from Tesla. She voluntarily resigned – not just once, but on multiple occasions. Also contrary to her claims, she never once informed the company she had any kind of significant medical problem prior to her resignation. Ms. Balan left Tesla the first time because we had previously provided her with a special 10-month living stipend as an accommodation to help her with family issues, and she wanted that stipend to be extended even further. When we did not extend it, she quit.
It is worth pointing out that Tesla is over 33,000 people, so while we feel that this case absolutely lacks merit, there will at times be cases where Tesla is genuinely at fault. Expecting 33,000 people to be perfect is not realistic.
However, when such cases arise, we will never seek to avoid responsibility.
Also, due to the clickbait nature of articles about Tesla, journalists and editors who do not hold truth and appropriate context as sacred will at times write inflammatory articles and misleading headlines. We are sympathetic to the pressure they face to maximize their audience, but that does not make what they do right.