BERLIN – NOVEMBER 09, 2016: Showroom. The full-sized, all-electric, luxury, crossover SUV Tesla Model X. Produced since 2016. (Shuterstock)
By Murjani Rawls, The Root
A collection of former and current Black Tesla employees have come together to file a lawsuit alleging they were subjected to various forms of racial abuse and harassment while working primarily in Tesla’s Fremont, California factory. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that in the lawsuit filed at California state court,“ workers alleged they were “subjected to racist graffiti, slurs, and harassment by co-workers, managers and human resources.”
Plaintiffs “have been subjected to offensive racist comments and offensive racist behavior and discipline by colleagues, leads, supervisors, managers, and/or Human Resources personnel on a daily basis,” the suit said.
“Standard operating procedures include blatant, open and unmitigated race discrimination. “ The harassment, which occurred mostly at Tesla’s Fremont, California factory, included using the terms “ni**r”, “slavery” or “plantation” or making sexual comments such as “likes booty,” the lawsuit said, adding that the automaker’s “standard operating procedures include blatant, open and unmitigated race discrimination”.
One of the plaintiffs named Jasmine Wilson, who worked as a quality inspector at the plant from August 2021 to March 2022, alleges that she was subject to “ racial epithets and cat-calling from leads, supervisors, and managers.” Wilson stated she reported the issues to human resources, and an investigation never happened.
“It’s hard to imagine a workplace culture that these hard-working people had to endure day after day, having to live through racist comments and abusive behavior,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Mike Arias. “Hearing story after story of employees being subjected to this level of disgusting and threatening behavior and language is still almost unbelievable.”
The workers also stated they were assigned to the most physically demanding jobs in Tesla or passed over for promotion per the lawsuit. The Guardian points out that Tesla is facing ten lawsuits regarding racial discrimination claims. A week ago, a former Tesla elevator operator named Owen Diaz rejected a reduced $15 settlement after initially winning $136.9 million in damages.
Another former Black employee filed a lawsuit in February alleging she received the same treatment that echoes the previous alleged accounts. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing also filed a lawsuit “after receiving hundreds of complaints from workers.” In December, six former and current female Tesla factory employees accused Tesla of “rampant sexual harassment” at the same plant in Fremont.