By Alexander Kalogeras
Fifteen former and current Tesla employees, all of whom are black, filed suit against the company alleging racial abuse and harassment. The lawsuit was filed nearly a week after another former Tesla employee declined a $15 million award in a racial discrimination suit. This resulted in a new trial to assess damages because the judge slashed the original $137 million jury verdict. Tesla also disclosed in recent court filings that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is investigating the company.
At least ten lawsuits have been brought against Tesla alleging racial discrimination and/or sexual harassment, including one brought by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), a civil rights agency.
In February of this year Tesla fired back with a blog post on its website aimed at the civil rights agency. Tesla alleged that the agency decided to file suit following a “three-year investigation during which the [agency]—whose mission is supposedly to protect workers—has never once raised any concern about current workplace practices at Tesla.” Tesla has a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team and claims to “strongly oppose all forms of discrimination and harassment.”
The latest lawsuit, however, alleges that Tesla’s “standard operating procedures include blatant, open and unmitigated race discrimination.” It also alleges that employees were subjected to poor working conditions and terms like “plantation” and “slavery.” Additionally, the complaint alleges that litigants were passed up on promotions because of their race.
It is not unusual for massive companies (or any business) to face similar lawsuits. Just a few weeks ago Google settled a gender discrimination lawsuit for $118 million.
If an employee or former employee files a claim against your business, it is important to seek out an experienced attorney. Equally, if not more important, is preventing legal issues from arising in the first place. Here at KI Legal we not only offer the tools, experience, and expertise to handle employment defense litigation, we also specialize in designing customized and cost-effective employment law compliance strategies to ensure that your business is always operating within the bounds of the law.
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