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Tesla accused of severe harassment, Is now being sued by Black workers



Tesla, Calafornia

Tesla, an electric car manufacturer, is facing a lawsuit from a civil rights organization in the United States. The agency alleges that Tesla has allowed the occurrence of significant levels of harassment targeting Black employees at its primary assembly factory located in California.

According to a lawsuit filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in federal court on Thursday, it has been alleged that Black employees at the Tesla plant located in Fremont have been consistently exposed to racist slurs and offensive graffiti, such as swastikas and nooses, from 2015 till the present day.

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According to the lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Tesla has allegedly neglected to conduct thorough investigations into accusations of racist behavior and has taken adverse actions, such as termination or retaliation, against employees who reported instances of harassment.

The legal action incorporates federal charges in addition to prior allegations of discrimination made by the state of California and legal proceedings initiated by employees of Tesla. The breakdown of settlement negotiations with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ensued subsequent to Tesla’s public announcement on the agency’s official expression of concerns in the previous year.

Tesla is currently confronted with many race discrimination cases that allege identical claims. These legal actions include a class action lawsuit filed by employees at the Fremont facility, as well as a lawsuit initiated by a civil rights body in California. The corporation, in these instances, has explicitly stated its zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination and demonstrates a genuine commitment to addressing and addressing workers’ grievances diligently.
Tesla failed to promptly provide a response to a request for comment.

According to Stephen Diamond, a law professor at Santa Clara University who has provided guidance to Tesla investors on matters of social responsibility, the involvement of the federal government undoubtedly enhances the legitimacy of the claims.

According to the speaker, this kind of conduct is likely to raise significant concerns among major institutional investors such as pension funds.

According to the lawsuit, the Equal Employment Opportunity Panel (EEOC) initiated an investigation into Tesla subsequent to an internal complaint lodged against the business by Charlotte Burrows, the chairperson of the five-member panel.

According to the lawsuit, subsequent to discovering in the previous year that there existed a “reasonable cause” to suspect that Tesla had contravened the federal statute prohibiting racial discrimination in the workplace, the agency made an unsuccessful attempt to engage in a settlement agreement with the company.
The case filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) aims to get compensatory and punitive damages for a group of Black employees, the exact number of which remains unidentified. Additionally, the EEOC seeks a court order mandating Tesla to undertake significant policy reforms to address and prevent discrimination and retaliation.

Tesla is currently endeavoring to fight allegations of a like nature brought forth by the California civil rights department, which serves as a state-level equivalent to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The government asserts that Tesla engaged in discriminatory practices against Black employees in relation to compensation, promotions, and work assignments. In the previous year, a legal move filed by Tesla was denied by a judge in California.

According to Tesla, the complaint filed by the California department was allegedly driven by political motives. Tesla further contends that the agency violated state legislation by initiating legal proceedings without providing prior notification of all the allegations or affording the firm an opportunity to resolve the matter through settlement.

Furthermore, Owen Diaz, a former elevator operator of African descent employed at the Fremont factory, is currently pursuing a third trial in relation to his complaint filed in 2017. The lawsuit alleges that he experienced extensive racial discrimination, and a jury previously granted him a sum of $3.2 million in April.

In 2021, an alternative jury rendered a verdict in favor of Diaz, granting him a monetary compensation of $137 million. However, a federal judge deemed this amount to be too excessive, prompting Diaz to elect a retrial rather than accepting a reduced judgment of $15 million.

Tesla is being confronted with a class-action lawsuit in the state court of California, which pertains to the purported maltreatment of Black industrial workers. Approximately 240 employees have just joined the aforementioned legal action.

. A US civil rights agency has sued Tesla, claiming the electric carmaker has tolerated severe harassment of Black employees at its flagship California assembly plant.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said in the lawsuit, filed in federal court on Thursday, that from 2015 to the present Black workers at the Tesla plant in Fremont have routinely been subjected to racist slurs and graffiti, including swastikas and nooses.

Tesla has failed to investigate complaints of racist conduct and has fired or otherwise retaliated against workers who reported harassment, the EEOC said in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit adds federal charges to previous discrimination claims by the state of California and lawsuits by Tesla employees. It follows the breakdown of settlement talks with the EEOC after Tesla announced that the agency had formally raised its concerns last year.

Tesla faces several other race discrimination lawsuits that make similar accusations, including a class action by workers at the Fremont plant and a lawsuit by a California civil rights agency. The company in those cases has said it does not tolerate discrimination and takes workers’ complaints seriously.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“If the federal government gets involved, it certainly adds credibility to the claims,” said Stephen Diamond, a law professor at Santa Clara University, who noted that he has advised investors on social responsibility at Tesla.

“Major institutional investors like pension funds will be very concerned about this type of behavior,” he said.

The EEOC in the lawsuit said it began investigating Tesla after the five-member commission’s chair, Charlotte Burrows, filed an internal complaint against the company.

After finding last year that there was “reasonable cause” to believe Tesla had violated the federal law banning workplace race discrimination, the agency tried and failed to enter into a settlement agreement with the company, according to the lawsuit.

Burrows in a statement said combating widespread workplace harassment is a key priority for the EEOC.

“Every employee deserves to have their civil rights respected, and no worker should endure the kind of shameful racial bigotry our investigation revealed,” she said.

The EEOC’s lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for an unspecified number of Black workers, along with an order requiring Tesla to overhaul its policies prohibiting discrimination and retaliation.

Tesla is seeking to fend off similar claims from the California civil rights department, a state-level counterpart of the EEOC. The department alleges that Tesla discriminated against Black workers when making decisions about pay, promotions and work assignments. A California judge last year rejected Tesla’s motion to dismiss that case.

Tesla has claimed that the California department’s lawsuit was politically motivated and has argued that the agency violated state law by suing without first notifying the company of all of the claims or giving it a chance to settle.

In addition, a Black former elevator operator at the Fremont plant, Owen Diaz, is seeking a third trial in his 2017 lawsuit claiming he was subjected to severe racial harassment after a jury in April awarded him $3.2m.

A different jury in 2021 had awarded Diaz $137m, but a federal judge said that was excessive and Diaz opted for a new trial instead of a reduced award of $15m.

Tesla is also facing a class-action lawsuit in California state court over the alleged mistreatment of Black factory workers. About 240 workers have moved to join that lawsuit.

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