In February, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit, alleging Tesla, Inc. harbored an atmosphere of harassment and racial discrimination against the company’s workers of color. When workers spoke up concerning the treatment, Tesla retaliated. This lawsuit is just the latest accusations in a checkered history of misconduct by Tesla.
If you or a coworker has fallen victim to racial discrimination or harassment, civil litigation may be necessary to end the wrongful employment practices. The Los Angeles discrimination attorneys at Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers can guide you through this complex process.
The Newest Tesla Troubles
Following a three-year investigation, the DFEH lawsuit claims Tesla was operating a racially segregated workplace. Racial slurs were common. Black workers were denied an opportunity for advancement, trapped at the bottom with unfair pay and work distribution. A harsh workplace where racial epitaphs (nooses and lynching references) are used daily, where the severity of discipline depends on race, where Tesla leadership takes their time cleaning off graffitied swastikas. Discrimination and harassment are common, and if you file a complaint, you can accept the retribution.
Tesla countered the lawsuit, saying DFEH already investigated dozens of claims in previous years, and they found no misconduct. Tesla’s spokesperson stated the lawsuit was counterproductive at a time when manufacturing jobs are moving out of California and added the suit “strains credibility” for the DFEH.
According to Tesla’s 2020 diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) report, 10% of the workforce is comprised of Black employees. Conversely, less than 4% of Tesla’s leadership positions are occupied by Black employees.
Tesla’s Problematic History
Last May, a former Black employee sued the company because Tesla failed to stop his supervisors from referring to him by the “N-word.” He was awarded a $1 million discrimination award in arbitration.
Last December, Tesla was ordered by a federal district judge to pay a Black former elevator operator $137 million in damages. The elevator operator at the Tesla plant in the San Francisco area claims he was subjected to racial epithets and graffiti and ignored by human resources and supervisors. A hostile work environment was created at the plant and germinated into a racially divided and unequal workplace.
A Tesla spokesperson said the verdict was unjustified, and they are asked for the damages to be reduced or for a new trial.
In the middle of December, six current and former employees filed a lawsuit against Tesla, alleging sexual harassment.
When should I contact a lawyer?
U.S. federal law protects minorities in the workplace. Further protection can be found under Californian law, shielding workers from harassment and discrimination. Even simple laws can still be complicated and stressful.
Reaching out to a skillful lawyer provides a buffer between you and your hostile workplace. These cases should be investigated, evidence gathered, and file claims under the FEHA. Larger companies can be an uphill battle, but the Los Angeles discrimination attorneys at Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers are eager to walk with you, step by step, through the process.