(ReliableNews.org) – When people work for or with a company, it’s reasonable to assume the business will ensure a safe and comfortable environment in which to thrive. One would especially expect a prominent company like Tesla to thoroughly investigate and eliminate any problems brought to its attention in that regard. But on October 4, the company lost a discrimination lawsuit where a jury ordered the electric car manufacturer to pay an alleged employee $137 million in punitive and emotional damages.
The verdict stemmed from a 2016 lawsuit where elevator operator Owen Diaz claimed racial abuse, discrimination, and harassment while working for Tesla in Fremont, California.
Tesla Inc. must pay nearly $137 million to a Black former worker who said he suffered racial abuse at the electric carmaker's San Francisco Bay Area factory. https://t.co/iVEvMflBGS
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) October 5, 2021
Although the company acknowledged some incidents at the factory during that time, the defense outlined how it addressed such issues in this case. In addition, the clean energy leader claimed Mr. Diaz was not an employee, but a contractor, who previously expressed he was satisfied with the company’s response to his complaints.
Still, this isn’t Tesla’s only brush with discrimination claims. In August, a former employee, who is African-American, suffered from workplace racism at the same plant in Fremont and won $1 million during arbitration.
Tesla ultimately decided not to “follow through” on investigations over racism allegations, opting instead to move forward with the millionaire lawsuit in favor of Owen-Diaz. Mr. Diaz’s attorney, Lawrence Organ, spoke to “Good Morning America” after the win, saying he hopes the verdict “will make them change and make other companies change and realize, racist conduct has no place in the workplace.”
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