February 25, 2024

On Thursday, a federal agency filed a lawsuit accusing Tesla of discrimination. It claimed that Black employees were subjected to racial epithets and given inferior work assignments compared to white workers. They were also fired for complaining.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims that Tesla managers knew about verbal abuse and discrimination but did not do enough to stop them. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that it sued Tesla after failing to reach an agreement with the company to resolve the discrimination.

This is not the first time that Tesla has been accused of racism in its Fremont, Calif. factory, located near San Francisco. A jury awarded $3.2 Million this year to a Black contractor who accused the carmaker of ignoring the racial abuse that he experienced while working at the factory as a contract worker.

A group of approximately 240 Black men, women, and children who have worked for Tesla since 2016 has asked a court to grant class-action status so that they can pursue claims of discrimination based on race. This includes being called “slave,” or “you people,” and worse.

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (now called the Civil Rights Department), the state agency responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination law, has also filed a lawsuit against Tesla. The suit claims, among other things, that Black workers are “severely overrepresented” in management positions.

In an email, Bryan Schwartz, a lawyer from Oakland who represents the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, stated that “it is telling that all government agencies and workers’ advocates who look at this situation have the same reaction.” Tesla’s racist discrimination and harassment against Black workers are horrific and illegal. They must be addressed systemically and on a class-wide level.

Tesla’s lawyers did not respond when contacted for comment.

Tesla stated in a statement released in 2022 that it “strongly opposed” any form of discrimination. The company called the case “a story spun” by the plaintiff’s law firms and the California agency.

The E.E.O.C. filed the suit. Tesla is accused of violating federal laws by “engaging in and continuing to engage” in discrimination towards Black employees of the Fremont Factory by subjecting them to severe or widespread racial harassment and creating a hostile working environment because of their racial background.

The lawsuit states that “the racial harassment was widespread, continued, inappropriate, unwelcome, and took place across all shifts and departments, and in all positions.”

According to the lawsuit filed by the San Francisco District Office of the Commission, black employees were called racial epithets on a regular basis. The complaint stated that racist graffiti, including swastikas and references to the Ku Klux Klan, and swastikas, were scrawled in bathrooms, on desks, and on cars coming off the assembly line.

The lawsuit claims that Tesla managers were aware of the behavior but did not stop it. The case claimed that employees who complained about their work were either fired or given unpleasant assignments.

After complaining about the misconduct, a Black employee claimed that he was disciplined for playing his music. Elon Musk is the C.E.O. of Tesla. He has stated that Tesla employees are encouraged by the company to play music while working on the assembly lines.

In its lawsuit, the commission asks that the federal court of Oakland order Tesla to cease discrimination and retaliation against Black workers and compensate those employees who were mistreated. The lawsuit also seeks punitive damage.

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