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Tesla hit by new lawsuit alleging ‘blatant, open and unmitigated’ racism

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Tesla has been hit by a lawsuit by 15 former or current employees alleging racial abuse.

The workers say they were subjected to offensive racist comments by colleagues, managers, and the company’s human resources employees.

This activity allegedly occurred at Tesla’s Fremont factory – which included use of the N-word, sexual comments, and the use of terms such as ‘slavery’ or ‘plantation’.

Tesla’s “standard operating procedures include blatant, open and unmitigated race discrimination,” the employees allege.

Tesla, which disbanded its PR department, did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment.

The electric car company is facing 10 lawsuits alleging racial discrimination or sexual harassment. It has previously denied wrongdoing and said it has policies in place to stop it, according to reports.

In October, Tesla was ordered to pay Black former employee Owen Diaz $137m in damages for turning a blind eye to racism the man encountered at the firm’s Silicon Valley auto plant.

“Tesla’s indifference to Diaz’s complaints is striking,” US District Court Judge William Orrick said.

Following the verdict, Tesla released a blog post by human resources vice president Valerie Capers Workman, which downplayed the allegations of racist abuse in the lawsuit but acknowledged that at the time Mr Diaz worked there, Tesla “was not perfect.”

Ms Workman said Tesla had responded to Mr Diaz’s complaints, firing two contractors, and suspending a third.

The state of California has also filed a lawsuit against Tesla sparked by hundreds of worker complaints.

Kevin Kish, head of the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, alleged that the department “found evidence that Tesla’s Fremont factory is a racially segregated workplace where Black workers are subjected to racial slurs and discriminated against in job assignments, discipline, pay, and promotion creating a hostile work environment”.

In a blog post before the filing, Tesla called the suit misguided and said the agency “has never once raised any concern” about its workplace practices following a three-year investigation.