US agency sues Tesla over alleged racial abuse at California factory

Tesla California plant
Tesla California plant

On Thursday (Sept. 28), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against Tesla over claims of racial abuse at its Fremont, California production facility. The enforcement agency said that the automotive giant, which is owned by Elon Musk, violated federal law by allowing rampant acts of harassment to be subjected upon its Black employees since 2015.

As stated in EEOC’s press release, alleged victims routinely endured “racial abuse, pervasive stereotyping, and hostility, as well as epithets such as variations of the N-word, ‘monkey,’ ‘boy,’ and ‘black b**ch.'” Additionally, swastikas and nooses were placed on desks, in bathroom stalls, and on new vehicles being produced at the plant. Whenever a complaint was made, the EEOC said that retribution from management was a common response. “The EEOC’s investigation also found that those who raised objections to racial hostility suffered various forms of retaliation, including terminations, changes in job duties, transfers, and other adverse employment actions,” the statement added.

“Combatting systemic harassment in workplaces is a key strategic enforcement priority for the EEOC. Unfortunately, as the lawsuits… filed this fiscal year show, racial harassment remains a persistent problem in employment,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. “Every employee deserves to have their civil rights respected, and no worker should endure the kind of shameful racial bigotry our investigation revealed.

She continued, “Today’s lawsuit makes clear that no company is above the law, and the EEOC will vigorously enforce federal civil rights protections to help ensure American workplaces are free from unlawful harassment and retaliation.”

The filing comes two years after Tesla was ordered to pay almost $137 million to Owen Diaz, a former worker who was said to have dealt with the aforementioned issues at the very same Bay Area factory. As REVOLT previously reported, Melvin Berry, another former employee, scored a $1 million judgment after a judge ruled that he was subjected to slurs and other racially hostile conduct.

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