The e-vehicle giant Tesla has been hit with another racial discrimination lawsuit by a Black employee who claimed a manager would greet employees by saying, “Welcome to the slave house.”
The San Jose Mercury News reports that Raina Pierce filed the suit, a current female employee who began working at the Fremont, California, plant last year installing latches on car doors.
According to her complaint, “Tesla’s facilities contain the N-word throughout,” with the slur often preceded by the f-word. Additionally, Pierce said she was frequently called the N-word and a gender-based insult while working at the plant.
Pierce’s other claims include her direct supervisors angrily claiming she got him in trouble and made a comment about not being able to stand Black people, let others switch stations, but denied her requests and disciplined her more frequently and severely than her non-Black coworkers.
Pierce said she reported the harassment and discrimination to Tesla’s human resources department in May 2012, when she was dealing with a lower leg injury. Later that year, Pierce called in sick due to her leg injury and infection and was put on leave.
Tesla has grown a reputation for racial discrimination lawsuits; they’ve become so frequent that the state of California has threatened to sue the tech giant. Pierce is the third Black employee to file a racial discrimination lawsuit this year.
Marcellous Cage, a war veteran, sued Tesla in March, claiming white workers tormented him with ringtones set to sound like incoming-rocket warnings. In another factory Cage worked in, swastikas and the N-word were carved and written on the bathroom walls throughout Cage’s employment, which Tesla ignored.
Last month, a class-action suit was filed on behalf of three workers by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. In the suit, Monica Chatman, Kimberly Romby, and Nigel Jones detailed accounts of being tormented at work with racial slurs in English and Spanish, homophobic harassment, and being overworked and underpaid, as well as forced into the hardest jobs with little to no promotion.
In 2021, Tesla was ordered to pay Owen Diaz $137 million. According to Diaz, while he worked as a supervisor at a California plant, other colleagues repeatedly called him racial slurs. Diaz added the Tesla plant was a culture where employees drew swastikas and racist terms in bathroom stalls and left derogatory drawings of Black children around the plant.
The lawsuits are ironic, considering Tesla CEO Elon Musk purchased the social media giant Twitter because he claims he wants to promote free speech. If Musk’s Tesla plants are an example of free speech, it may lead to more trouble for Musk.