15 former or current black Tesla employees are suing the company for allegedly failing to prevent racial discrimination at its Fremont, California factory (via) bloombergThe lawsuit, which was filed in a California court last week, details workers’ claims that they were subjected to racial slurs, derogatory comments, and racially-motivated harassment in the workplace.
As outlined in the filing, workers allege that their colleagues often used the N-word and other racist or discriminatory terms such as “slavery” or “plantation” to describe the factory’s work culture. In addition, Tesla reportedly left racist graffiti on bathroom walls, benches, lockers and workstations, including images of the “KKK,” the N-word, and swastikas.
The lawsuit claims that management also participated in the harassment, “repeatedly ignored complaints and reports”, and retaliated against workers “for reporting and complaining about discrimination”. A former worker, Jasmine Wilson, claims she was sexually and racially harassed by her coworkers and managers. Her managers reportedly did nothing to report discrimination and instead instituted policies targeting Wilson in retaliation for her complaints.
Another worker, Nathaniel Aziel Gonsalves, claims he was suddenly fired after nine years at Tesla in retaliation for reporting persistent racial discrimination at the company. Several other workers claim they were denied promotions based on race, as well as the “most physically demanding” job at Tesla.
This most recent lawsuit is one of several targeting Tesla for alleged racial discrimination and other forms of workplace harassment. Last year, a black former elevator operator won his case accusing Tesla of not doing enough to stop racial discrimination — he was awarded a lesser payment of $15 million. The company reportedly paid $1 million to an employee who claimed the company did nothing after her supervisor called her a racial slur.
In February, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit against Tesla, claiming that the company’s Fremont factory is a “racially segregated environment where black workers are subjected to racial humiliation.” They are victimized and discriminated against.” The automaker is also being investigated by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Tesla denied the discrimination claims in a post on its blog, saying the company “strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment.”