Tesla ordered to pay Black former worker who alleged racial abuse nearly $137M

Tesla ordered to pay Black former worker who alleged racial abuse nearly $137M
© Greg Nash

A Black former employee of Tesla will receive nearly $137 million from the company after he was subjected to racially motivated abuse at a California factory.

Owen Diaz said in his lawsuit that he was subjected to "daily racist epithets" including the N-word before he quit his job, The Associated Press reported.

His lawsuit also claimed his supervisors made no effort to stop the abuse despite Diaz's claims that drawings of swastikas and racist graffiti could be found around the plant, according to the AP. 


Diaz worked at the electric car company's Fremont plant as an elevator operator in 2015 and 2016. 

"Tesla’s progressive image was a façade papering over its regressive, demeaning treatment of African-American employees," the lawsuit said, per the AP.

Diaz's attorney told The Washington Post that his client was to receive $6.9 million for emotional distress and $130 million for punitive damages.

The AP added that Tesla has denied knowing anything about the alleged abuse, noting that it was not clear if the company would appeal the decision. 

The Hill has reached out to Tesla for further comment.

Diaz said to The New York Times that the outcome felt like "a big weight has been pulled off my shoulders."

Earlier this year, Tesla paid another plant worker, Melvin Barry, $1 million after he said his supervisors did not take action after he was called a racial slur. Berry, who is Black, also reported that drawings of swastikas and racist graffiti were at the plant in addition to his co-workers' regular use of racially charged language.