California Threatens to Sue Tesla Over Racial Discrimination, Harassment Allegations

California Threatens to Sue Tesla Over Racial Discrimination, Harassment Allegations

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing warned Tesla it has grounds to file a civil complaint over racial discrimination and sexual harassment charges.

USA Today reports the electric vehicle company said it received the notice Jan. 3 in a annual regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“The DFEH gave notice that, based upon the evidence collected, it believes that it has grounds to file a civil complaint against Tesla.” Tesla disclosed in its filing.

Tesla’s diversity track record has been under suspicion for years. In October, the majority of Tesla’s investors voted to release detailed information on the racial demographics of its workers. Tesla previously announced that 83% of workers are men among its corporate leadership roles, and 59% are white.

Meanwhile, Black Americans make up 10% of Tesla’s workforce, but just 4% are in leadership positions, 12% new hires, and 10% promotions.

Additionally, the electric vehicle company had been forced to pay millions as a result of racial discrimination lawsuits.

In 2017, a California civil rights group filed a lawsuit against Tesla, alleging the company did not adequately respond to racial harassment complaints from an African American employee.

Last year, Melvin Berry was awarded more than $1 million after the company failed to stop his supervisors from calling him the N-word. Berry also claimed when he confronted a supervisor about his frequent use of the N-word, he was forced to work longer hours with heavier equipment.

A federal court also ordered Tesla to pay Owen Diaz, a former Black employee who accused the automaker of ignoring racial abuse he faced while working there, $137 million.

According to Diaz, the Tesla plant he worked at between 2015 and 2016 was a culture where employees drew swastikas and racist terms in bathroom stalls and left derogatory drawings of Black children around the plant. Despite repeated complaints, Diaz said Tesla did little to address the situation or the behavior of its supervisors.

Additionally, Tesla’ Inc.’s head of human resources and one of its highest-ranking Black employees, Valerie Capers Workman left the company last month to join the career network firm Handshake as its chief legal officer.