Another former employee has accused Tesla Inc of discrimination. This time the automaker has vowed that it will fight the accusations of racism fiercely. A blog post underscoring how Tesla fights racism accusations describes the lawsuit over the issue as “a hotbed of misinformation.”
Tesla accused of racism
Former Tesla employee Marcus Vaughn filed a lawsuit against Tesla earlier this week, saying that his employment was terminated after he complained to CEO Elon Musk. The lawsuit described the automaker’s production floor as a “hotbed for racist behavior,” and Vaughn is seeking class-action status on behalf of over 100 African American Tesla employees who work there. He also described standard operating procedures on the production floor as “pre-Civil Rights era race discrimination.”
He seeks unspecified punitive and general monetary damages and an order for new policies to be implemented aimed at preventing harassment and correcting it.
Tesla fights racism accusations “to the end of the earth”
In a post on its website, Tesla stated that it’s “absolutely against” all forms of “discrimination, harassment, or unfair treatment.” The automaker added that all workers are required to take an anti-discrimination course, and its HR department investigates allegations and conducts training sessions when complaints are made.
Tesla also said that it investigated “disappointing behavior” reported among a group that works around Vaughn’s team months ago and found “a number of conflicting accusations and counter-accusations between several African-American and Hispanic individuals.” The allegations included use of the “n-word” and “w-word” and also “a threat of violence.” Three employees were fired as a result of the investigation.
Tesla also promised additional action if needed, including further job terminations and vowed to fight the lawsuit “to the end of the earth” by spending on attorney’s fees rather than settling.
Tesla fights racism accusations by contesting points of the lawsuit
The company also listed a number of points it claims the lawsuit got wrong, and one is the number of plaintiffs in the case. Tesla says Vaughn is the only “actual” plaintiff and that the claim that there are 100 plaintiffs “is a complete fabrication with no basis in fact at all.” The automaker also states that Vaughn was employed via a temp agency and not directly with Tesla.
Additionally, it claims that he wasn’t fired, but rather, his six-month contract ended. Tesla also states that Vaughn complained to Musk about his commute and the automaker’s shuttles and not about racism in the factory and that his email was addressed.
Tesla also had quite a lot to say about the lawyer that brought Vaughn’s case, alleging that he “has a long track record of extorting money for meritless claims and using the threat of media attacks and expensive trial costs to get companies to settle.”
This racism allegation is only the latest problem Tesla has faced regarding working conditions. Earlier this year, a female engineer filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, and other workers alleged difficult working conditions at the company’s factory.