NEWS: US
RACISM
California files suit against Tesla for “racial discrimination and harassment”.

A Cal­i­for­nia civ­il rights agency has filed a com­plaint against Tes­la for alleged racial dis­crim­i­na­tion and harass­ment at its Fre­mont plant, accord­ing to the Wall Street Jour­nal. “After receiv­ing hun­dreds of com­plaints from work­ers, the DFEH has found evi­dence that the Tes­la fac­to­ry in Fre­mont is a racial­ly seg­re­gat­ed work­place,” Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Fair Employ­ment and Hous­ing Direc­tor Kevin Kish said in a statement.

The DFEH said black employ­ees were fre­quent­ly exposed to racial slurs and graf­fi­ti, with one work­er say­ing he heard such slurs 50 to 100 times a day. “Black work­ers are sub­ject­ed to racial slurs and dis­crim­i­na­tion in job assign­ment, dis­ci­pline, pay and pro­mo­tion, cre­at­ing a hos­tile work envi­ron­ment,” Kish said.

Tes­la called the law­suit “unfair and unpro­duc­tive” in a blog post­ed before the com­plaint was made pub­lic. “Tes­la strong­ly oppos­es all forms of dis­crim­i­na­tion and harass­ment and has a ded­i­cat­ed employ­ee rela­tions team that responds to and inves­ti­gates all com­plaints,” the com­pa­ny wrote.

 “Tes­la is also the last car man­u­fac­tur­er in Cal­i­for­nia. The Fre­mont plant has a major­i­ty-minor­i­ty work­force and pro­vides the high­est pay­ing jobs in the auto indus­try to more than 30,000 Cal­i­for­ni­ans.” She also said that more than 50 pre­vi­ous DFEH inves­ti­ga­tions over the past five years have been closed with no find­ings of wrongdoing.

Last Octo­ber, Tes­la was ordered to pay $137 mil­lion in dam­ages to a for­mer black work­er who accused the com­pa­ny of turn­ing a blind eye to racial dis­crim­i­na­tion and abuse in 2015 and 2016.

The ver­dict was not accept­ed by Tes­la, with a spokesper­son say­ing that the com­pa­ny was “not per­fect” at the time, but that it had “come a long way” since then. Tes­la recent­ly moved its head­quar­ters from Cal­i­for­nia to Texas, but also said it would increase its man­u­fac­tur­ing oper­a­tions by 50 per cent in California.

Tes­la has had pre­vi­ous run-ins with the state of Cal­i­for­nia over COVID-19-relat­ed plant clo­sures, and is not the only high-pro­file com­pa­ny on the DFE­H’s radar. The agency recent­ly sued Activi­sion Bliz­zard for alleged harass­ment and dis­crim­i­na­tion against female employees.

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