Instead, Simon claims previously friendly bosses cooled toward him and, within weeks, stripped him of three of the eight dealerships he supervised. A month later, Simon said, he was fired in retaliation for pushing the AC issue, in what he says was a pretext Tesla concocted involving his use of a company vehicle.

Simon alleges he was wrongfully terminated and wants a jury to award him lost wages, lost benefits and stock options, as well as compensation for emotional distress.

“Tesla maintains that plaintiff is not entitled to any relief whatsoever,” Anthony Califano, the carmaker’s attorney, said in a petition to move the suit to federal court. He said the case belongs there because Simon is seeking between $2.7 million and $10 million in damages, well above the threshold required to shift state court claims involving an out-of-state party.

Neither Califano nor Nicole Chomiak, another lawyer for Tesla, responded to requests for comment on the lawsuit outside regular business hours.

The case is Simon v. Tesla, 23-cv-10583, US District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

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