Tesla Fires Hundreds of Workers After Their Annual Performance Review

They’re not layoffs, the automaker says.

Electric automaker Tesla Motors fired hundreds of employees this week, including workers at its Fremont, Calif. factory and corporate managers, as it tries to solve production problems for its recently released Model 3.

An estimated 400 to 700 people were dismissed this week, according to a San Jose Mercury News report published Friday afternoon. That’s between 1% and 2% of the company’s more than 33,000 employees. Former and current employees told the Mercury News that little or no warning preceded the dismissals.

A Tesla spokesman would not confirm that number but told Fortune that the move follows its annual performance reviews, which typically involve both involuntary and voluntary departures.

“Like all companies, Tesla conducts an annual performance review during which a manager and employee discuss the results that were achieved, as well as how those results were achieved, during the performance period,” a Tesla spokesman said in an emailed statement. “This includes both constructive feedback and recognition of top performers with additional compensation and equity awards, as well as promotions in many cases. As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures. Tesla is continuing to grow and hire new employees around the world.”

Tesla insists that the losses are not layoffs and that it plans to backfill the positions. That’s likely accurate, at least for jobs in California. State law requires companies to notify employees of layoffs through its WARN notification system. There are no records of new layoffs from Tesla. About 200 Tesla and SolarCity employees in the company’s Roseville, Calif. offices were notified Aug. 30 that they would be terminated.

The latest cuts come as the automaker tries to fix bottlenecks on the production line for its Model 3, an all-electric model designed to appeal to the masses. Earlier this month, Tesla reported that it produced 260 Model 3 cars in the third quarter, of which it has delivered 220. That figure is far less than CEO Elon Musk’s prediction that Tesla would produce more than 1,600 of the vehicles by September.

In July, Musk tweeted a production update for the Model 3, saying the car had passed all regulatory requirements ahead of schedule. After announcing that the first 30 customers would receive the Model 3s on July 28, Musk wrote, “production grows exponentially, so Aug should be 100 cars and Sept above 1,500.”

Altogether, Musk said that third quarter production numbers for the Model 3 would be around 1,630 vehicles—a prediction off by 84%.

A Wall Street Journal report published earlier this month revealed that Tesla workers were assembling Model 3 vehicles by hand until at least early September. One of the “bottlenecks” Musk alluded to was a process that involved positioning and welding body panels by hand, rather than by precision robots, according to workers interviewed by the Journal.

Musk recently delayed the unveiling of an electric semi-truck until Nov. 16 so the company can focus its attention on production problems with its new mass-market car, the Model 3.

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Uber drivers will verify their identities through selfies

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From now on, Uber drivers will start their shifts with selfies. 

The ride-hailing company is expanding its Real-Time ID Check feature across the US, it announced in a blog post Friday. Drivers submit a selfie through the app to ensure the person driving the car matches Uber’s account on file. 

The feature doesn’t connect to a background check or do anything else to ensure the underlying safety of Uber drivers. Instead, it just checks that the person in the car is the same one Uber has on file. 

Drivers will be asked periodically to submit selfies before accepting rides, Uber said. The company uses Microsoft’s Cognitive Services API to compare the photo to one it has. If the photos don’t match, a driver’s account will be temporarily blocked.  Read more…

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Companies Back Microsoft's Effort to Alert Users When Authorities Seek Their Data

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Neanderthals Ate Each Other and Used Their Bones as Tools

For over a century, paleoanthropologists have been fascinated by a gory question: were Neanderthals cannibals? In recent years, we’ve found remains that suggest cannibalism did exist in various parts of southern Europe but new remains found in northern Europe add further evidence to the “yes” answer and tell us more about why cannibalism was practiced.

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Kid-friendly smart watch tells them when to brush their teeth, so you don’t have to

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Getting a small child to brush their teeth can feel like hosting a nightly WWE wrestling match in your bathroom. But the new icon-based Octopus watch for kids ages 3 to 8 aims to help with this and other daily habits. 

The Octopus watch’s Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $ 231,000 in pledges — more than four times its $ 50,000 fundraising goal — which could indicate that at least a few parents are seeking help in the instilling-good-habits department. 

Actually the Octopus, designed by JOY, has three intended functions. It’s a watch, teaching kids to read time using both digital and analog faces. It’s a scheduler that parents can remote-program with pop-up icons to notify kids when it’s time for certain activities: basketball practice, bath time, feeding the cat. And it’s an assistant, providing tips, notes, and reminders for both kids and parents. Read more…

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Today’s Top Athletes Bring Their A-Game To Madison Avenue

CelebExperts picks its Top 5 Celebrity Marketing Campaigns of the month and explains why many brands and ad agencies chose to invest their marketing dollars in sports stars.

(PRWeb August 31, 2015)

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Sunrise Hitek Adds Hard Cover Books to Their Bindery Selection

Sunrise Hitek adds hard cover books to their selection of bindery options. Hard cover binding is perfect for yearbooks and other books that need to withstand the test of time…

(PRWeb August 21, 2015)

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