A group of Black Tesla employees have filed suit against the company, claiming that they were subjected to racial discrimination at its factories in California. Tesla is facing at least 10 suits alleging sexual or racial harassment, including one recently filed by a Tesla shareholder accusing the company of harboring a toxic work environment as well as one by a civil rights agency.
According to the lawsuit filed at a California state court, 15 former and current Black employees said they endured offensive comments made by colleagues, managers, and human resources employees on a regular basis, Reuters reports.
Some of the comments mentioned in the lawsuit include the words “n****r”, “slavery” or “plantation,” as well as sexual ones, i.e. “likes booty.” Aside from offensive comments, the plaintiffs also claimed that they were often assigned the more physically demanding jobs at the factories or overlooked for promotions. The majority of the harassment allegedly took place at Tesla’s Fremont, California factory, according to Reuters.
In response to previous accusations of racial discrimination, Valerie Capers Workman, Tesla’s vice president of people, issued a statement in October 2021, arguing that “racial slurs (including the n-word)“ were used in a “friendly” manner on the Fremont factory floor. Tesla did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
This isn’t the first time the automaker company has been accused of racial discrimination. In October 2021, a federal jury in San Francisco ordered Tesla to pay a former Black contractor $137 million over claims that he was subjected to racial discrimination at work (the amount was later dropped to $15 million after Tesla contested the allegations). In February, Tesla faced another discrimination lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing that alleges the company discriminated against its workers of color, “segregating them to the lowest levels of the workforce.”
Earlier this month, a Tesla shareholder filed a lawsuit against the company, accusing Elon Musk and the Tesla board of directors of harming their shares by ignoring worker complaints and fostering a toxic workplace.