15 more current, former employees sue Tesla alleging racial abuse

A group of 15 Black current and former employees of tech giant Tesla sued the company on Thursday over accusations of racial abuse.

Plaintiffs claimed that they were harassed based on their race, with colleagues and managers using the N-word and other racially charged terms, including “slavery” and “plantation,” in daily interactions, according to Reuters.

Tesla’s “standard operating procedures include blatant, open and unmitigated race discrimination,” the lawsuit reads, particularly at its Fremont, Calif., factory where the abuse is said to have occurred.

“It is rare for Blacks to work here. I don’t know how long you will be able to stay here,” one plaintiff recalled hearing alongside racial slurs.

The supervisor of another plaintiff said that he “‘wasn’t like most Black people,’ that he ‘didn’t act ghetto,’ and further called him a ‘zebra’ because he was ‘neither Black nor white,’” Reuters reports.

Some former and current employees accused Tesla of purposefully placing them in the most difficult posts at the factory, demoting them or choosing not to promote them.

The newest and largest racial abuse suit against Tesla follows a complaint filed against the company in February by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which “​​found evidence that Tesla’s Fremont factory is a racially segregated workplace where Black workers are subjected to racial slurs and discriminated against in job assignments, discipline, pay, and promotion creating a hostile work environment.”

Tesla responded to DFEH, saying: “Tesla has always disciplined and terminated employees who engage in misconduct, including those who use racial slurs or harass others in different ways. We recently rolled out an additional training program that reinforces Tesla’s requirement that all employees must treat each other with respect and reminds employees about the numerous ways they can report concerns, including anonymously.”

Years earlier, in 2017, a former Tesla employee sued the company alleging “severe and pervasive racial harassment.”

Another former employee sued earlier this year, saying that “virtually every restroom in Tesla’s Fremont facility contained writings or carvings of racist symbols and slurs, including swastikas and prominent displays of the n-word.”

“Tesla’s commitments to unrealistic production goals and frantic efforts to ramp up its production, often to make good on rash promises, overrode any commitment to employee safety,” wrote former construction manager Marc Cage, who in this case worked in Tesla’s Nevada battery factory.

Tesla has racked up a total of at least 10 race discrimination lawsuits, Reuters reports.

Tags Racial discrimination Tesla
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