A California state agency
filed a lawsuit against Tesla Inc (TLSA.O) for tolerating widespread
discrimination against Black workers at its plant, mirroring claims made in
several other cases against the electric car maker.
The complaint filed in the
state court on Wednesday claimed Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, is
racially segregated and that Black workers are subjected to racial slurs and
discriminated against in job assignments, pay and promotions.
Hundreds of workers complain of racism
According to Reuters, California’s Department of
Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) said it has received hundreds of complaints
from Tesla workers.
The electric vehicle company
is already facing at least four race discrimination lawsuits by employees and
is challenging a $137 million jury award in October to a Black former worker in
the Fremont factory.
The DFEH’s case covers many
more employees as the agency overlooked agreements that most Tesla workers
signed to bring legal claims against the company in arbitration rather than in
Tesla, however, did not
As Tesla has grown to become
the world’s most valuable carmaker, it has faced mounting claims involving
pervasive racial and sexual harassment at its flagship Fremont plant and other
Tesla ignores racial harassment complain
Worker Owen Diaz said
managers at the Fremont plant did not register his complaints about constant
racial harassment. Diaz said coworkers routinely used racial slurs, and that
swastikas and racist caricatures were scrawled on bathroom walls and other
areas of the factory.
A judge, in that case, is
considering Tesla’s bid for a new trial or to lower the award, which is one of
the largest in a discrimination lawsuit by a single worker.
The company is also
defending against similar claims in a proposed class-action lawsuit on behalf
of factory workers in California state court. A judge last year rejected
Tesla’s bid to dismiss the claims.
Tesla has denied wrongdoing
in those cases and has said that it has implemented various policies in recent
years to prevent racist conduct and punish it when it does occur.
The DFEH lawsuit is
significant because the agency represents the allegation of many Tesla workers,
unlike the individual allegations.
“Tesla has stripped
away these employees’ constitutional rights through this arbitration clause, so
this is really a great day for those workers because they will get their day in
court,” Organ said.