Dec 3 (Reuters) - Tesla Inc has asked a U.S. court
to affirm an arbitrator's recent decision dismissing a former
engineer's claims that the automaker fired and defamed her for
raising concerns about defective floormats and contracting
In a petition filed in San Francisco federal court on
Thursday, Tesla said an arbitrator in a Nov. 3 decision found
Cristina Balan's claims that the company falsely accused her of
criminal conduct in response to a 2017 Huffington Post article
about her firing were untimely.
In March, a California-based appeals court ruled that Balan
was required to arbitrate the defamation claims because they
were directly related to her employment with Tesla.
The company on Thursday asked the court to confirm the
arbitrator's decision, which opens the door for Balan to
Balan said in an email on Friday that she would seek to
vacate the arbitration award "due to fraud, corruption, bias ...
and manifest disregard for the law."
In a 2019 lawsuit, Balan said she was fired shortly after
sending an email to Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk claiming
contracts were being awarded based on friendships regardless of
price or quality.
Balan had also raised concerns about floormats in Tesla's
Model S curling up under the pedals.
In a statement provided to the Huffington Post about Balan's
case, Tesla claimed she was fired for using company time to work
on a personal project and illegally recording conversations with
Tesla had lauded Balan's work prior to her firing, including
crediting her with perfecting a design for a battery pack,
according to court filings.
(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in New York; Editing by Andrea
Ricci, Dan Grebler and Daniel Wallis)