David Vespremi, former director of communications for the California automaker (and new Epic Torq owner) was part of a mass firing, which ousted Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard called, at the time, a "Stealth Bloodbath" in which 26 employees were let go at once without advance warning. Unwilling to take what seemed like a wrongful dismissal lying down, Vespremi and his legal representative Yosef Peretz took his case to the courts. A similar situation is playing itself out over at Fisker Automotive, where recent sudden layoffs have triggered a federal lawsuit over alleged violations of the US Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which mandates a 60-day notification period before mass layoffs.
In any case, after five long litigious years, Vesprimi has just received word that the court has found in his favor as regards to his entitlement to 10,000 shares of stock options. This translates to $207,000 in cold, hard cash.
While Tesla will certainly be happy to put this case behind it – the company has, no doubt, already spent far more than the final award on the proceedings – it still faces further fallout from the decision.
With the principles of its obligations to former employees vis-à-vis stock options now established, it faces a further class action suit filed on behalf 99 other former workers with carbon-copy claims. While that may add up to a significant out lay for Tesla, it might find comfort in the fact that at least some of that money may very well find its way back in the form of orders for more of its Model S.
We have asked Tesla for a comment on the situation, but did not get a response before publication. We will update this post when we hear back.
*UPDATE: Tesla says, "We don't comment on pending litigation."