From today’s San Jose Mercury News:
Black workers at Tesla’s Fremont factory were paid less than white workers, denied advancements, and faced daily racist abuse, including a noose drawn in a bathroom next to a reference to lynching and a racial slur, a lawsuit by California’s civil-rights regulator claims.
“As early as 2012, Black and/or African American Tesla workers have complained that Tesla production leads, supervisors, and managers constantly use the n-word and other racial slurs to refer to Black workers,” the suit filed Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court alleged. “They have complained that swastikas, ‘KKK,’ the n-word, and other racist writing are etched onto walls of restrooms, restroom stalls, lunch tables, and even factory machinery. They have complained that Black and/or African American workers are assigned to more physically demanding posts and the lowest-level contract roles, paid less, and more often terminated from employment than other workers. They have also complained that Black and/or African American workers are often denied advancement opportunities, and more often and more severely disciplined than non-Black workers.”
Workers also displayed “racially incendiary” Confederate flag tattoos to intimidate Black colleagues, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s suit claimed.
“A common narrative was Black and/or African American workers being taunted by racial slurs and then baited into verbal and physical confrontations, where they, in turn, were the ones disciplined for being purportedly ‘aggressive’ or ‘threatening,’” the suit claimed. “These written warnings in their personnel files had consequences for later promotional and professional opportunities.”
Although the suit refers to Tesla’s three manufacturing facilities in the U.S., the claims focus on the factory in Fremont beside I-880 where the $950 billion, publicly traded company makes electric cars. Tesla, which recently moved its headquarters from Palo Alto to Texas, is fighting a slew of lawsuits by Black workers and former workers claiming it failed to adequately respond to racism and sexual harassment in its facilities, including at its parts plant in Lathrop near Tracy.
Department of Fair Employment and Housing director Kevin Kish said in a statement that the suit was based on hundreds of complaints from workers.
Read the complete story here.