Tesla must pay $ 137 million in discrimination lawsuit – TechCrunch
Tesla was ordered to pay $ 137 million in damages to a former black worker who accused the company of turning a blind eye to racial discrimination and abuse at the company’s electric vehicle plant in Fremont in California, the Washington post reported. A jury in a federal court in San Francisco awarded the judgment – apparently one of the largest in an individual employment case of racial discrimination – to Owen Diaz, an elevator operator who worked as a contract employee in 2015 and 2016.
In the lawsuit, Diaz alleged he was discriminated against “straight from the Jim Crow era”, during which he was the victim of racist slurs. He alleged that Tesla employees left drawings of swastikas, racist graffiti and offensive cartoons around the factory, while supervisors neglected to stop the abuse. “Tesla’s progressive image was a front that covered his regressive and demeaning treatment of African-American employees,” according to the lawsuit.
The jury awarded Diaz $ 6.9 million for emotional distress, but the majority, $ 130 million, was in punitive damages against Tesla. “It’s a good thing when one of America’s richest corporations has to have an account of the odious conditions in its factory for blacks,” said Diaz’s attorney, Lawrence Organ.
“It took four long years to get to this point,” Diaz told the New York Times. “It’s like a big weight has been lifted from my shoulders.”
In response to the verdict, Tesla played down the allegations in a blog post written by Vice President of Human Resources Valerie Capers Workman. “In addition to Mr. Diaz, three other witnesses (all non-Tesla contract employees) told the trial that they regularly hear racist slurs (including the N word) at the Fremont factory,” he said. -she writes. “While they all agreed that the use of the N word was not appropriate in the workplace, they also agreed that most of the time they thought the language was used in a ‘friendly’ and generally by African-American colleagues. “
Tesla added that it had responded to Mr Diaz’s complaints, laying off two contractors and suspending another. She said that while the facts did not support the verdict, the business was “not perfect” in 2015 and 2016, “but we have come a long way.” The company has not yet indicated whether it plans to appeal.
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Engadget.