Tesla to face workplace racism lawsuit in California (1)

Tesla Inc. cannot escape a lawsuit from California’s civil rights regulator accusing the electric vehicle maker of encouraging racial discrimination and harassment at its San Francisco Bay Area plant.

A state court judge on Tuesday tentatively denied the company’s request to dismiss the lawsuit from California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which described the Fremont plant as a “workplace at racial segregation”.

The agency said it saw complaints from hundreds of black workers and uncovered evidence of mistreatment, including harassment, unequal pay and retaliation, at Tesla’s Fremont factory during a three-year investigation. year.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He said he “strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment” and called the DFEH lawsuit “misguided” in a blog post before the lawsuit was filed.

The company will have a chance at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday to convince the Alameda County Superior Court judge Evelio Grillo to modify its decision before making it final.

The DFEH’s racial harassment allegations were “uncertain, ambiguous and unintelligible,” Tesla’s attorneys argued in court filings. But Grillo said in his preliminary ruling that the allegations in DFEH’s lawsuit “are sufficiently specific.”

Black Tesla workers complained to DFEH that they heard racial slurs up to 50 to 100 times a day and spotted racist graffiti on the walls of restrooms, workstations, lunch tables and other areas, the agency said in its complaint. Additionally, black workers were paid less than their non-black counterparts for substantially similar work, according to the suit.

A former Tesla contractor who won a $137million jury verdict for racist factory abuse is heading to a new trial against the company after disagreeing with a judge who said the award should be reduced to $15 million.

The case is Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Tesla Inc., 22CV006830, California Superior Court, Alameda County.

(Updates with decision and background details)

To contact the reporter on this story:
Malathi Nayak in San Francisco at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Katia Porzecanski to [email protected]

Peter Blumberg

© 2022 Bloomberg LP All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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