15 Black employees sue Tesla for failing to prevent racism
Current and former Tesla Black employees file a lawsuit against the company over allegations they were subject to racism.
Automotive company Tesla is being sued by 15 former or current Black employees for allegedly failing to prevent racial discrimination and sexual harassment at one of its factories in California, Bloomberg reported.
Filed last week in a California court, the lawsuit said that the 15 employees were subject to racial slurs, derogatory comments, and racially-motivated harassment.
According to the filing, the workers accused some of their colleagues of frequently using the N-word and other racist or discriminatory terms.
The 15 former or current Black employees said that Tesla allegedly kept racist graffiti inside the factory, including KKK (Ku Klux Klan), the N-word, and swastika signs.
The lawsuit also accused Tesla's management of ignoring “repeated complaints and reports” about the matter in addition to retaliating against the workers “for reporting and complaining about the discrimination.”
Employees denied promotions due to their race
Jasmin Wilson, a former worker, said she was sexually and racially harassed by her coworkers and managers at Tesla. In return, her managers allegedly did not report the incident and took decisions that targeted Wilson in retaliation for her complaints instead.
Similarly, Nathaniel Aziel Gonsalves, said he was fired by the company after nine years for continually reporting racism incidents.
The lawsuit highlighted that several other workers said they were denied promotions by Tesla due to their race and were given the “most physically demanding” jobs at the company.
It is noteworthy that within the same Tesla factory, invoices and other documents reviewed by CNBC revealed that the company's owner, Elon Musk, paid a consultancy firm - MWW PR - to observe employees on a Facebook group and their social media accounts as some employees attempted to form a union in 2017 and 2018.
The firm monitored discussions around unfair labor practices in Tesla, in addition to a lawsuit on sexual harassment, according to the newly-revealed documents.
Tesla a "racially segregated environment"
This is not the first lawsuit filed against Tesla for racial discrimination. In fact, a Black former elevator operator was awarded last year a reduced payout of $15 million after winning his case that accused the company of not acting enough to prevent racism.
Tesla also paid $1 million to an employee who said the company did not act to his claims that his supervisor called him a racial slur.
In February, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against the automotive company, claiming that Tesla is a “racially segregated environment where Black workers are subjected to racial slurs and discriminated against.”
On its part, Tesla denied the claims, arguing that it “strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment.”