Tuesday, October 5th, 2021
Racist work environment
Tesla sentenced to a million fine
A former Tesla employee is said to have been regularly racially insulted while at work. A US court found that the company did not take any action against it and awards the person concerned a three-digit million amount in damages.
The electric car manufacturer Tesla is said to have exposed a black former employee to a racially motivated work environment in the USA. Appropriate measures to protect him from racial harassment have not been taken, a federal court found. The eight-member jury awarded Owen Diaz, who worked as an elevator operator at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California in 2015 and 2016, more than $ 130 million in damages.
Bernard Alexander, one of his lawyers, said during the trial that he was reported to have received regular racist abuse at work and saw racist pictures and labels in the toilets and elsewhere. The plant in the San Francisco Bay Area was Tesla’s only automobile assembly plant at the time and employed around 10,000 people.
Tracey Kennedy, a Tesla attorney, declined to comment on the verdict. She said in her closing statement that there was no evidence that a Tesla employee molested Diaz and that the company should not be held liable for the treatment Diaz claimed. Many of the workers at the Tesla factory are employed through recruitment agencies. Tesla CEO Elon Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ruling or any plans to appeal.
The trial focused on three allegations: that Tesla exposed Diaz to a racially hostile work environment; that the company failed to protect him from racial harassment; and that it was negligent in the supervision or continued employment of an employee and caused Diaz damage as a result. Tesla denied in a court file that the company knew of the allegedly discriminatory and harassing behavior and that it had not taken any measures to protect black employees.