Personal accounts highlight Tesla’s anti-racism lawsuit from California agency

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Last month, after a three-year investigation, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit against Tesla, alleging its Fremont auto plant is plagued by racism targeting black workers. . Now, new reports are sharing the stories of former employees who claim to have been harassed, highlighting the apparent seriousness of the situation.

Personal stories related to Los Angeles Times by three former employees echo accusations in the DFEH lawsuit, including frequent use of the “N-word”, other racially-based harassment and apparent retaliation against those filing the complaint. For its part, the electric car maker has denied the specific allegations made by the individuals at the Los Angeles Times.

Tesla also defended itself in February against the allegations made in the state agency’s lawsuit. In a blog post titled “The DFEH’s Misguided Lawsuit”, he said “strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassmentand that it not only has an Employee Relations team that responds to all types of complaints, but it also has a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) team.

A report released by this DEI team indicates that 10% of Tesla’s American workforce is black, and minorities make up the majority. However, it also indicates that blacks occupy only 4% of leadership positions, while whites constitute a strong majority (59%) of this group.

The blog post points out that the DFEH was contacted almost fifty times over a five-year period with complaints of discrimination or harassment, but apparently dismisses the grievances because the civil rights agency dismissed the cases without any action. in court against the company. Tesla also claims that the DEFEH did not provide it with “the specific allegations or factual basis of its legal action.”

In a separate article, Initiated describes how a litany of lawsuits alleging harassment based on race and gender have been filed over the past five years, and relays the personal testimonies of a number of people involved in those Shares. Tesla, he says, relied on private arbitration — a practice also used by other automakers — to keep details of the settlement from becoming public.

Although most of the discrimination lawsuits against Tesla have failed, there has been a notable payoff. A former Tesla contractor was awarded $137 million by the company by a federal jury in October 2021 (Tesla is appealing that settlement amount).

Of 90 arbitration claims filed against the company since 2016, only one has been successful so far. This case resulted in a $1 million reward for a former worker.

Tesla isn’t the only automaker with incidents or allegations of racial discrimination. A three-judge panel of the 6th United States Circuit Court of Appeals recently overturned an earlier decision, reviving a lawsuit against Ford over allegations of racial and sexual harassment of a former worker.

An employee of a Fiat Chrysler subcontractor was fired in 2018 after a noose was discovered at the Toledo Jeep assembly complex. The following year, another noose was spotted at the Sterling Heights assembly plant. The woman who reported it was initially fired, apparently for posting a video on social media, but was later reinstated.

In 2018, a number of employees filed a lawsuit against General Motors after a number of disturbing racially motivated incidents, including nooses left on workstations.

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