*Three former Tesla factory workers are suing the Bay Area automaker for abuse, racism and harassment they say they experienced on the job, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The men, all of whom are black, filed a lawsuit Monday in Alameda County that labels the company a “hotbed for racist behavior” and accuses Tesla supervisors and workers of using racial epithets and drawing a Jim Crow-era caricature of black children on cardboard boxes inside the company’s Fremont factory.
Lamar Patterson and father and son Owen Diaz and Demetric Diaz were contractors, hired to work at Tesla by third-party companies. According to the lawsuit, Demetric Diaz, who worked as a production associate at the Tesla factory, complained to the staffing agency about racial slurs being hurled at him by co-workers “on a regular basis,” but the company did nothing. He was fired shortly after complaining about the abuse to a Tesla supervisor in December 2015, the lawsuit states.
“Demetric believed that his employment was terminated because he objected to the racist harassment and discrimination,” the document says.
Patterson and the elder Diaz both quit in 2016 after suffering or witnessing similar abuse and deciding that enough was enough, according to the legal filing. Both men said they were told their supervisor at Tesla would “look into the issue,” but no action was ultimately taken.
Tesla said it was unaware of these complaints — and that the company only learned of them after being contacted by two media outlets who were covering the lawsuit.
The company denies the racism claims, stating, “There are over 33,000 people working at Tesla, and given our size, we recognize that unfortunately at times there will be cases of harassment or discrimination in corners of the company. In situations where Tesla is at fault, we will never seek to avoid responsibility. But in this instance, from what we know so far, this does not seem to be such a case.”
California Civil Rights Group, the law firm representing the three plaintiffs, sued Tesla earlier this year in a similar case of alleged racial abuse at the company’s Fremont factory.