The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Tesla, accusing the electric car manufacturer of violating federal law by permitting widespread racial harassment of its Black employees and retaliating against those who reported such harassment. The EEOC alleges that non-Black individuals at Tesla openly used racial slurs and epithets in high-traffic work areas, including around vehicle production lines. Supervisors and managers reportedly witnessed this behavior but failed to intervene.
When Black workers at Tesla reported the racial slurs, insults, graffiti, and misconduct to the company’s human resources department, employee relations teams, or other managers, Tesla allegedly failed to take appropriate action to address the behavior. This lawsuit follows previous legal action against Tesla, including a lawsuit by a state civil rights agency in California and a case in which a jury ordered Tesla to pay $3.2 million in damages to a Black former worker who experienced racist discrimination while employed by the company in 2015.
Tesla had previously engaged in a mandatory conciliation process with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after the agency issued a cause finding against the company. However, this process did not lead to a resolution, resulting in the recent lawsuit. The EEOC is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, back pay for affected workers, and injunctive relief to reform Tesla’s employment practices to prevent future discrimination.
The lawsuit, titled EEOC v. Tesla, Inc., Case No. 4:23-cv-04984, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Tesla has not yet responded to the allegations.
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