Tesla is back under fire, this time for racial discrimination.
California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued Elon Musk’s company over allegations by Black workers that the company tolerated racial discrimination at an assembly plant.
It adds to a growing pile of several other lawsuits against Tesla.
The latest lawsuit says that the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, has racial segregation, that Black workers are subjected to racist sluts and drawings, and are signed the most physically demanding jobs based on their race. The DFEH said that many Black employees have been forced to quit because the working conditions are so intolerant.
In the complaint, DFEH said that workers refer to the Tesla factory as the “slaveship” or the “plantation.” They said Tesla’s production leads “crack the whip.”
Tesla has faced mounting claims involving sexual harassment and pervasive racial discrimination, especially at its flagship plant in Fremont, as well as at other facilities.
In October, a federal jury awarded $137 million to a former employee who worked at the Fremont plant, who said managers ignored his complaints about relentless racial harassment. He said he was subjected to racial slurs and swastikas carved into bathroom walls. It is one of the largest amounts ever awarded in a discrimination lawsuit by a single worker.
Tesla is also defending against similar claims in a proposed class action from factory workers, which will be heard in a state court also in California.
The allegations in the new lawsuit are very similar to the ones in pending cases. But this one will also likely cover even more workers, because the agency is not bound by agreements that most Tesla employees have signed to bring legal claims in arbitration rather than in a court. For workers to get their day in court is a huge win.