On Wednesday, the state of California sued Tesla Inc., claiming that the company had a long history of harassment and discrimination against black employees at its San Francisco factory.
The lawsuit was filed in Alameda County Superior Court, and it was allegedly catalyzed by several hundred complaints, per the head of the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Kevin Kish.
The state department, which is responsible for the enforcement of civil rights laws, declared that the Fremont factory for the electric vehicle maker apparently promoted “a racially segregated workplace” that included discrimination in job assignments, compensation, promotion, and other matters, fundamentally “creating a hostile work environment,” according to a statement issued by Kish and reported by Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.
While details of the lawsuit have yet to be released, Tesla has already weighed in on the lawsuit, declaring it to be effectively misguided since no concerns regarding racial discrimination had been addressed during the company’s time in Fremont.
California “has never once raised any concern” over the course of a three-year investigation, according to Tesla.
The lawsuit appears to be based on complaints from production associates, who claim that the racial incidents took place from 2015-2019.
However, Tesla has argued in favor of “[pausing] the case” in order to ensure that “the facts and evidence are heard.”
Unfortunately for Tesla, the Bay Area has a precedent of siding with its accusers.
For instance, last October, a San Francisco jury provided a nearly $137M award to a black contract worker who claimed he suffered daily abuse from 2015 to 2016.
Tesla has indicated that it will appeal the jury decision.