Authored By Elizabeth Kapamas
A new racial discrimination case against Tesla reveals harassment and discrimination are so rampant that the plaintiffs, in this case, describe these experiences as a “standard operating procedure.”
This lawsuit was filed by nine men and six women who work at Tesla factories. Nearly half of the plaintiffs were fired or quit, and the remainder are still employed by Tesla.
Tesla has been accused of breaking Civil Rights and Labor laws by allegedly denying promotions to black employees. Variations of slurs, hateful graffiti art and messages, and verbal harassment have been documented by investigators.
Plaintiffs filed their complaint Thursday in Alameda County Superior Court seeking financial damages: "Throughout their employment with Tesla, plaintiffs were targeted for harassment on the basis of their race. The harassment included being called [variations of the n-word], 'Boy' and other racially derogatory terms on a regular basis as well as observing other employees enduring the same treatment," the complaint says. One plaintiff who worked at Tesla's Fremont factory for one month in 2022 alleged that the "harassment included the use of the terms 'Blackies' or 'Darkies' to address African-American workers."
According to the lawsuit, Black employees were denied promotions while others with fewer qualifications were promoted. Additionally, minority workers were assigned more physical-demanding jobs at Tesla, as opposed to non-minority workers who were given more technical, less physically demanding tasks. According to the complaint, Tesla violated California labor law and the Unruh Civil Rights Act by discriminating against minorities, harassing them, retaliating against them, failing to prevent discrimination and harassment, negligently hiring, retaining, and supervising employees, and wrongful terminating them.
Read more about the lawsuit and past similar lawsuits here.