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Fifteen former and current employees at Tesla filed a lawsuit against the company on Thursday, June 30. All of whom are Black and allege racial discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
Tesla is an electric automotive company owned by Elon Musk. The company is the world’s most valuable car company with a brand value of $75.9 billion in 2022.
The lawsuit alleges that the company subjected the plaintiffs to racist behavior and comments from colleagues, managers, and human resources employees on a regular basis, according to the lawsuit filed in a California state court.
The harassment reportedly comes mainly from Tesla’s Fremont, California factory. According to the lawsuit, the employees were subjected to terms including “nigger”, “slavery”, and “plantation” as well as sexual comments being made.
“Standard operating procedures include blatant, open and unmitigated race discrimination,” the lawsuit alleges.
According to NBC news, the lawsuit states some of the plaintiffs were assigned to the most physically demanding posts in Tesla or passed over for promotion. It said that Montieco Justice, a production associate at Tesla’s Fremont factory, was immediately demoted upon returning to Tesla after taking an authorized leave of absence as a result of contracting COVID-19.
This is not the first lawsuit levied against Tesla in the past year. In October of 2021, Tesla was ordered by a Federal Court to pay Owen Diaz, a former Black employee, $137 million over racial abuse. The lawsuit took place at the same Fremont factory that the current plaintiffs are suing.
Back in February, a California regulatory agency filed a discrimination lawsuit against the electric vehicle company. Tesla attempted to head off the suit, preemptively releasing a blog post denying the claims before the suit was filed.
Tesla also faced a lawsuit from several former employees a few weeks ago. In the lawsuit, employees alleged the company violated labor laws when it failed to warn them layoffs were imminent.
It was reported near the start of June that Tesla would pause hiring and cut nearly 10% of its workforce amid economic uncertainty in the marketplace. It was later reported on June 28 that the company laid off nearly 200 workers in its Autopilot offices in California.