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By Kate Dennett For Mailonline and Afp
Tesla has been the subject of a racial discrimination complaint by a California agency after finding evidence of “segregation and a hostile work environment” at the electric car maker’s Francisco plant.
Black workers at Tesla’s Fremont factory were routinely subjected to deeply offensive racial slurs and jokes from co-workers and managers, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday night in a California court.
Kevin Kish, director of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), said the agency had received hundreds of complaints from workers at the plant.
Wednesday’s filing claimed worker heard of ‘racism’ slurs as often as 50 to 100 times a day,” while allegedly racist graffiti was found, which included Nazi swastikas and references to the Ku Klux Klan.
The DFEH “found evidence that Tesla’s Fremont factory is a racially segregated workplace where black workers face racial slurs and are discriminated against in work assignments, discipline, compensation, and promotion,” Kish said in a statement reported by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. .
“The facts of this case speak for themselves,” he added.
Prior to the filing, Tesla released a statement Wednesday saying it “opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment” and is committed to providing “a safe, respectful, fair and inclusive workplace.”
According to a complaint, black workers at Tesla’s Fremont factory (pictured) were routinely subjected to deeply offensive racial slurs and jokes from colleagues and managers
But according to the DFEH, workers at the plant would be “provoked with racial slurs and then drawn into verbal and physical confrontations” by non-black workers and then subject to disciplinary action.
The complaint also alleged that non-black workers regularly called areas where many black or African-American workers were stationed with historically racist names, including “the plantation.”
Black slaves were frequently put to work on agricultural plantations in North America before the mid-19th century, producing crops such as sugar and cotton.
According to the filing, non-black workers frequently received preferential treatment at the factory, including easier jobs and greater leniency in disciplinary procedures compared to their black colleagues.
A worker “heard these racial slurs up to 50 to 100 times a day” and workers with inflammatory racial tattoos of the Confederate flag would make them visible to intimidate black employees, the DFEH said.
Racist graffiti reportedly seen in the factory toilets included Nazi swastikas, “KKK” in reference to the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan and “go back to Africa”.
Wednesday’s filing claimed a worker heard ‘racist slurs up to 50 to 100 times a day’ amid alleged racist graffiti found at the factory (file photo)
Racist language directed at black workers included the “porch monkey” and jokes that they were “out of the hood” and “out of the ghetto,” according to the filing.
“The stress of severe and pervasive racial harassment, the risk of physical altercation and escalation with harassers, blatant discrimination, disproportionately harsh discipline and the futility of complaining, have made working conditions so intolerable that they resigned,” the complaint mentioned.
The company, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, has been the subject of several lawsuits alleging discrimination at the California factory in recent months.
However, many do not make it to court because Tesla requires its full-time employees to agree to private arbitration of employment-related disputes.
In a blog post before the filing, Tesla called the lawsuit misguided and said the DFEH “never raised concerns” about its workplace practices following a three-year investigation.
“Tesla has always disciplined and terminated employees for misconduct, including those who slur racially or harass others in various ways,” the company said in its statement on Wednesday.
Tesla’s post said the lawsuit appears to focus on accusations from the factory’s production associates, who said misconduct took place between 2015 and 2019.
The post also said he would ask the court to “pause the case and take further steps to ensure the facts and evidence are heard.”
“Attacking a company like Tesla that has done California so good should not be the primary goal of a state agency with prosecutorial power,” the blog said.
It comes just over a week after former Tesla entrepreneur Kaylen Barker, who is black and lesbian, filed a lawsuit alleging the company ignored her complaints of shocking discrimination and abuse while she worked at an assembly plant in Lathrop, California.
The company, owned by billionaire Elon Musk (pictured), has been the subject of several lawsuits alleging discrimination at the California factory in recent months.
“I feel like I was tortured and sent back in time before African Americans had civil rights,” Barker said in a statement, adding that “being a black worker in the famous factory Tesla’s Californian company means having to go back in time”. and suffer painful abuse reminiscent of the Jim Crow era.
Barker, 25, said she was “physically, mentally and emotionally abused” while working for Tesla because she was “an African-American lesbian”.
The lawsuit, filed Feb. 1 in California Superior Court for Alameda County, alleges a white co-worker hit Barker with a hot grinding tool while calling him the N-word, “dumb,” “dumb.” and “ab***c”. ‘
Although the white colleague was fired after this incident, Barker alleges the person was “shockingly rehired” about two weeks later.
Tesla, which has cut its public relations department and refuses to speak to the media, did not immediately respond to a DailyMail.com inquiry on Tuesday morning.
Last October, a California jury awarded former Tesla entrepreneur Owen Diaz (pictured) a $137million verdict after he sued for racial harassment at the Fremont factory.
In December, six women sued Tesla, alleging a culture of sexual harassment at the Fremont plant and other facilities.
The lawsuit came after a California jury ruled in October that Tesla should pay $137 million in damages to a black ex-employee for turning a blind eye to the racism the man faced at the factory. Fremont.
Contract worker Owen Diaz said he faced “daily racist epithets”, including the “N-word”, at the factory in 2015 and 2016 before quitting.
Diaz said employees drew swastikas and left racist graffiti and drawings around the plant and that supervisors failed to stop the abuse.
Tesla is appealing that verdict and has denied any knowledge of racist behavior that Diaz said took place at the plant, which has about 10,000 workers.
Last year, Musk argued with authorities over reopening the factory amid coronavirus restrictions and threatened to move its headquarters out of state.
Subsequently, Musk told investors in October that the leading electric vehicle maker was moving its headquarters to Texas, where it was building a factory.
Tales of systemic racial discrimination in the workplace in the United States have become more common after Black Lives Matter protests hit their peak in 2020.