Tesla has been hit with a lawsuit by 15 current and former Black employees accusing the automaker of racial discrimination and harassment. The lawsuit filed in a California court on June 30 said Tesla’s factories have been: “systematically turned into a racially hostile work environment.”
The lawsuit comes as Tesla is in the process of being sued by California’s civil rights regulator, which filed a lawsuit against Tesla in February saying a three-year-long investigation had found evidence Tesla’s Fremont factory was a “racially segregated workplace.”
The fifteen plaintiffs in the new lawsuit variously accuse Tesla of overlooking Black employees for promotions, allowing the use of racial slurs including the N-word to go unpunished, and failing to remove racist graffiti in the bathrooms including swastikas and the letters “KKK.” One plaintiff said in the lawsuit he was tackled by another employee while on the job, and that after he reported the incident to his lead, his lead told him: “Suck it up and be a man, this happens here all the time.”
The same plaintiff said he was later harassed by a coworker who threw metal bolts at him. He said when he reported the incident his lead took no action.
This isn’t the first time a Black Tesla employee has said they were attacked by a coworker. A Black, gay woman who worked for Tesla filed a lawsuit against the company in February saying she was continually harassed by a coworker who at one point threw a hot grinding tool at her. The plaintiff said although she repeatedly reported the coworker for discriminatory behavior she was not aware of any action taken against them by HR.
In October 2021, a former elevator operator at Tesla’s Fremont factory called Owen Diaz won a racial harassment case against the company.
Diaz was initially awarded $137 million in damages by a jury. A judge later brought the payout down to $15 million. Diaz rejected that figure and a June court filing shows he plans to take Tesla back to court to try to argue for more money.A Tesla investor also filed a lawsuit against the company in June accusing it of creating a “toxic workplace culture grounded in racist and sexist abuse.”
Insider reported in March that 46 lawsuits accusing Tesla of sexual and racial harassment in its Fremont factory have been filed over the last five years. Seven legal and labor experts told Insider the number of lawsuits was cause for concern in factory the size of Fremont. Tesla did not immediately respond when contacted by Insider for comment on the new lawsuit.