Tesla braces for a potential race discrimination lawsuit from California’s civil rights company


An aerial view of the Tesla Fremont Manufacturing unit on Could 13, 2020 in Fremont, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Photographs

California’s civil rights company has knowledgeable Tesla that it has grounds to file a civil grievance towards the automaker following an investigation into “undisclosed allegations of race discrimination and harassment at unspecified Tesla places” within the state.

Tesla revealed the discover from the California Division of Honest Employment and Housing in a financial filing printed on Monday. Tesla acquired the discover on Jan. 3, the submitting stated.

Whereas Tesla moved its headquarters to Austin, Texas, final 12 months, Elon Musk’s electrical automobile and photo voltaic enterprise nonetheless operates many services all through the state of California. Tesla operations there embrace its first U.S. automobile meeting plant in Fremont, a analysis and growth hub in Palo Alto, a design middle in Hawthorne, a foundry and a manufacturing facility the place the corporate makes vitality storage techniques in Lathrop, and different sub-assembly vegetation, warehouses, and distribution facilities, together with in Lathrop and Martinez.

The DFEH discover to Tesla follows a string of complaints from present and former Tesla employees within the state.

In October final 12 months, a jury in a San Francisco federal court decided that Tesla ought to pay a former employee, Owen Diaz, round $137 million after he confronted a hostile work surroundings during which, he advised the court docket, colleagues used epithets to denigrate him and different Black employees, advised him to “return to Africa,” and left racist graffiti within the restrooms and a racist drawing in his workspace.

Tesla stated in its monetary submitting on Monday, “The Firm doesn’t imagine that the info and legislation justify the decision,” and stated it could enchantment the matter if it couldn’t in any other case get the damages decreased in court docket.

One other former Tesla employee, Melvin Berry, was awarded $1 million in arbitration after he complained about comparable experiences whereas working for Tesla from 2015 to 2016. After the choice, he advised Black Enterprise {that a} supervisor incessantly used racial slurs, and when Berry complained, he was pressured to work longer hours with heavier tools.

Extra fits have been filed alleging racial harassment and discrimination at Tesla since Berry and Diaz filed their complaints. Final week, Kaylen Barker, a former Tesla employee who’s a homosexual Black girl, said in a suit that she was assaulted and verbally abused by a co-worker at a Tesla facility in Lathrop the place she labored inspecting brake elements.

The corporate and DFEH didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

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