The California state agency is suing Tesla, accusing it of allowing racial discrimination and harassment to flourish in a lawsuit filed Thursday at its San Francisco Bay Area factory.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing said hundreds of Tesla workers reported widespread use of racist insults, including racist graffiti and supervisors. They also accused the company of discriminatory practices. The agency said black employees were physically assigned more difficult work and refused transfers and promotions more often than other workers.
“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 discrimination and discrimination in creating a hostile work environment in assignments, discipline, pay and promotions. Is, “Kevin Kish, director of the department, said in a statement. “The facts of this case speak for themselves.”
In a statement posted online Wednesday, before the lawsuit was filed, Tesla said it “strongly opposes” all forms of discrimination and harassment. The company denounced the lawsuit, arguing that the state agency had investigated dozens of previous claims in recent years and found no malpractice.
“So now, after a three-year investigation for the agency, there is a strain on credibility to accuse Tesla of systematic racial discrimination and harassment,” the company said. “The narrative designed to generate publicity by DFEH and a handful of plaintiffs is not factual proof.”
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.
Tesla said its Fremont factory has a “majority-minority workforce” and “at a time when manufacturing jobs are leaving California.” The company moved its headquarters to Texas last year and opened a new factory in the Austin area.
Tesla also said that the California agency denied his requests for information on the allegations. The company plans to ask the court to “suspend the case and take other steps to ensure the facts and evidence are heard.”
In October, a federal jury in San Francisco awarded $ 137 million to a Tesla black employee who said he faced racial harassment from supervisors and other colleagues while working at the Fremont factory in 2015 and 2016. Nicknames in the bathroom stall and drawings of abusive cartoons of black children around the factory were left, he said.
The following month, another Tesla employee, Jessica Baraza, sued the company, accusing it of allowing widespread sexual harassment, both verbal and physical. Six more women sued the company in December, citing similar treatment.
Last month, Valerie Capers Workman, one of Tesla’s top black executives, left the company. As head of human resources at Tesla, Ms. Workman was often the face of the response to such suits.