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Tesla Sued By California Agency Over Racial Discrimination And Harassment

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Issues at Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s Fremont manufacturing plant are behind a lawsuit filed on Wednesday by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing against the automaker, on the grounds of racial discrimination and harassment. The lawsuit follows hundreds of employee complaints.

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Allegations

As reported by TechCrunch, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has filed a lawsuit against Tesla based on several pieces of evidence that depict the Fremont plant as a “segregated workplace where black workers are subjected to racial slurs and discriminated against in job assignments, discipline, pay, and promotion creating a hostile work environment.”

The company rejected the civil rights agency claims and stated in a blog post, “Tesla strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment and has a dedicated Employee Relations team that responds to and investigates all complaints.”

Further, in the post, Tesla underlined its position as “the last remaining automobile manufacturer in California,” which provides 30,000 Californians with the best-paying jobs in the car manufacturing industry.

According to the agency, black workers were the subject of constant slurring and racist graffiti at the factory premises —one of them reported to have heard racial slurs between 50 and 100 times a day.

Racial And Sexual Misconduct

Further, black workers reported being the target of more severe disciplinary actions, being assigned the more physically-demanding tasks, as well as being disregarded for promotion and underrepresented in managerial roles.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, “More than half a dozen current and former Tesla workers sued the company late last year alleging that Tesla failed to prevent sexual harassment at its facilities, among other claims. Tesla has said it intends to try to move those cases into private arbitration, court records show."

In November last year, Jessica Barraza made headlines for suing the company over sexual harassment at the same manufacturing plant —which she described as having a toxic atmosphere where she was subjected to catcalling and aggressive physical touching.

The company was also sentenced to pay a whopping $137 million in damages to Owen Díaz, a black worker who had sued Tesla over racial discrimination between 2015 and 2016.

Tesla is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders' families.