The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued Tesla Inc (TSLA.0) over allegations of racial discrimination at an assembly plant.
Allegations made by Black workers in Tesla’s factory in Fremont, Calif., highlight racial segregation, assignments to the most physically demanding jobs, racist slurs, and drawings, according to the DFEH.
“After receiving hundreds of complaints from workers, DFEH 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,” Kevin Kish, the DFEH’s director, said in a statement.
The company had commented on the most recent suit, calling it “misguided” in a blog post.
"DFEH," the blog post states, "has never once raised any concern about current workplace practices at Tesla. Rather, the lawsuit appears focused on alleged misconduct by production associates at the Fremont factory that took place between 2015 and 2019."
The company adds: “Tesla strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment and has a dedicated Employee Relations team that responds to and investigates all complaints. We also have a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team whose work is shown in this public report.”
A request to pause the case will be made once the DFEH files the lawsuit, according to Tesla, who requests the court to “take other steps to ensure that facts and evidence will be heard”. The company claims the DFEH has “declined to provide tesla with the specific allegations or the factual bases for its lawsuit” despite repeated requests.
“Attacking a company like Tesla that has done so much good for California should not be the overriding aim of a state agency with prosecutorial authority. The interests of workers and fundamental fairness must come first,” the statement read.
The electric car maker has faced similar suits in its Fremont location. A Black former employee was awarded $135 million in damages last October after reporting a hostile and racist environment.