Tesla is facing yet another racial discrimination lawsuit, this one brought by 15 Black current and former employees who are suing the company in California.
The workers said the company’s culture allowed for “blatant, open and unmitigated race discrimination” and most of the alleged behaviors are said to have occurred at the company's factory in Fremont.
“Slavery,” “plantations” and racial slurs were allegedly used by colleagues and managers, according to the suit. Some of the workers allege being passed over for promotions, and in one instance, an employee alleges he was demoted after he returned to work following a COVID-related leave of absence.
This is the latest in an increasing list of lawsuits accusing Tesla of racial discrimination and other workplace misconduct. An investigation by Protocol found that almost 120 people had requested the right to sue Tesla on grounds of discrimination between 2018 and 2021 in California. Nearly 40% of the cases were race-related.
Tesla has previously denied that it has a toxic work culture. In February, as Tesla faced an imminent suit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the company said its factory in Fremont had a “majority-minority workforce” and that it “strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment and has a dedicated Employee Relations team that responds to and investigates all complaints.”
“Tesla has always disciplined and terminated employees who engage in misconduct, including those who use racial slurs or harass others in different ways,” it added.
Tesla has also challenged the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s powers to sue the company and has previously described the suits as politically motivated.
In May, as he went on yet another Twitter tirade, Elon Musk said he was recruiting lawyers to join a new “litigation department where we directly initiate and execute lawsuits. The team will report directly to me.”
"Looking for hardcore streetfighters, not white-shoe lawyers," Musk wrote. "There will be blood.”
But already, the lawsuits are starting to cost the EV-maker millions. Last November, the company lost a racial discrimination lawsuit in California, and it was asked to pay Owen Diaz, a Black former employee, $137 million. A federal judge reduced the payout to $15 million, which was rejected by Diaz.