Tesla, the electric-car maker, has been sued again Thursday, this time by a group of current and former Black employees who say they were subject to racial slurs and harassment, according to a report by the San-Francisco Chronicle. The lawsuit further states that the company and management knew of the complaints and did nothing to stop it.
According to the lawsuit filed in a California state court, workers at Tesla’s Fremont, CA. assembly plant state that they were subjected to offensive remarks from colleagues, managers, and human resource employees on a regular basis. The harassment ranged from racist graffiti in the bathrooms to flat out being called the n-word or as one employee in the suit described “Blackies” and “Darkies.”
Beyond the harassment, plaintiffs in the lawsuit also alleged that Black employees at the Fremont plant were given more strenuous positions than their white coworkers. In the SF Chronicle report, Tyron Aghedo says that he and other Black employees worked 12 hours a day on the most physically intensive parts of the vehicles, while their white counterparts were allowed to rotate out every couple of hours.
Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit recounted instances of cat-calling from managers and leads, HR using racial remarks while dismissing employees’ complaints, and in some cases retaliation.
Teri Mitchell, a plaintiff in the suit, says that after she made a complaint she was transferred to a different section and was dismissed from the company sometime later without notice, according to the SF Chronicle. The lawsuit states that Mitchell was told by an HR employee, “It is rare for Blacks to work here. I don’t know how long you will be able to stay here.”
“Hearing story after story of employees being subjected to this level of disgusting and threatening behavior and language is still almost unbelievable,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Mike Arias speaking with the SF Chronicle.
As of the time of this writing, Tesla has yet to make a statement regarding this new lawsuit.
According to Al Jazeera, Tesla is now facing at least 10 lawsuits alleging widespread race discrimination or sexual harassment, including one by a California civil rights agency. Tesla has denied mistreating Black workers, but in October of last year, a federal court jury in San Francisco awarded $136.9 million in damages to a Black man, Owen Diaz, who said he was repeatedly called racist names, shown racist cartoons, and subjected to abuse during 9½ months of employment at the Fremont factory. A judge later reduced the award to $15 million but Diaz has been granted a new trial to redetermine the settlement award.
This new lawsuit is just one of many Tesla is facing at the moment. Earlier this month, a Tesla shareholder sued CEO Elon Musk and the company for neglecting worker complaints and fostering a toxic workplace culture, according to Reuters.