The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has filed a lawsuit against Tesla accusing the automaker of racial discrimination and harassment.
The complaint, filed in state court, involves problems at Tesla’s Fremont plant.
A California agency has received “hundreds of complaints from workers” and found evidence that the Fremont plant is “a segregated workplace where black workers are subjected to racist harassment and discrimination in job assignments, performance, pay and promotions, creating a hostile workforce.” Wednesday,” said the director of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
In October 2021, Tesla was ordered to pay $137 million in damages to a black former contractor who accused the company of turning a blind eye to discrimination and racial slurs at its Fremont plant.
In the lawsuit, worker Owen Diaz alleged that Tesla employees drew racist graffiti, swastikas and offensive cartoons that executives preferred to ignore.
In late 2021, several women came forward to accuse Tesla of encouraging a culture of harassment in the same factory. The women said they were subjected to discrimination, catcalling, unwanted advances and physical contact while on the job.
“Tesla has always punished and fired employees for misbehavior, including those who express racial slurs or harass others,” the company said in a blog post.
“Tesla is the last remaining car manufacturer in California. However, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing chose to sue Tesla instead of working constructively with us. This is unfair and counterproductive, especially since the allegations relate to events many years ago,” the company continued.
According to the agency, black workers often heard racial slurs from Tesla bosses and managers and saw racist graffiti at the plant. In addition, they were assigned more physically demanding work, treated more rigorously, and denied career opportunities.