The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued Tesla Wednesday for alleged racial discrimination and harassment. As The Wall Street Journal reported, the civil rights agency is alleging that Tesla's factory in Fremont is a "racially segregated workplace."
Kevin Kish, the agency's director, told the Journal that DFEH received complaints that Black workers were "subjected to racial slurs" and discriminated against in job assignments, pay and other areas of work. DFEH said Tesla supervisors and managers used racial slurs, and Black workers were confronted with racist graffiti in areas of the factory including restrooms and work stations.
The company has faced allegations of sexual and racial harassment and discrimination several times in the past. In December, six employees filed lawsuits against the company for alleged sexual harassment. Prior to that, former Tesla worker Owen Diaz won a lawsuit claiming that Tesla subjected him to a racially hostile workplace, among other problems. And since 2018, over 100 workers have been granted the right to sue on the basis of mostly race-based complaints.
Tesla published a blog calling DFEH's lawsuit "misguided" just before it was filed. The company said the agency has been asked to investigate Tesla "on almost 50 occasions" by people who believe they were discriminated against or harassed. "On every single occasion, when the DFEH closed an investigation, it did not find misconduct against Tesla. It therefore strains credibility for the agency to now allege, after a three-year investigation, that systematic racial discrimination and harassment somehow existed at Tesla," the company wrote.