15 former or current Black Tesla employees are suing the company for allegedly failing to prevent racial discrimination at its Fremont, California plant (via Bloomberg† The lawsuit, filed last week in a California court, details employees’ allegations that they were victims of racist remarks, derogatory comments and racially motivated harassment in the workplace.
As detailed on the file, workers allege that their co-workers 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 is said to have left racist graffiti on bathroom walls, sofas, lockers and workstations that contain “KKK”, the N-word, and drawings of swastikas.
The lawsuit’s claims management also participated in the harassment, “ignoring repeated complaints and reports” about the matter and retaliating against employees “for reporting and complaining about the discrimination.” A former employee, Jasmin Wilson, claims she was sexually and racially harassed by her co-workers and managers. Her executives reportedly did nothing to report the discrimination and instead have put in place policies targeting Wilson in retaliation for her complaints.
Another employee, Nathaniel Aziel Gonsalves, claims he was suddenly fired after nine years at Tesla in retaliation for continuing to report racial discrimination to the company. Several other employees claim they have been denied promotions based on race, as well as the “most physically demanding” jobs at Tesla.
This most recent lawsuit is just one of many against Tesla for alleged racial discrimination and other forms of harassment at work. Last year, a black former elevator operator won his case accusing Tesla of not doing enough to prevent racial discrimination — he got a reduced payout of $15 million. The company also reportedly paid $1 million to an employee who claimed the company did nothing after being called a racist insult by his supervisor.
In February, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit against Tesla alleging that the company’s Fremont plant is a “racially segregated environment where black workers are subjected to racial slurs and discrimination.” The automaker is also under investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Tesla has denied claims of discrimination in a post on its blog, stating that the company “strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment”.