Tesla’s California plant is allegedly plagued by a racially discriminatory work environment, one where Black employees have been called porch monkeys and the N-word by co-workers, according to a lawsuit filed on Feb. 9. The lawsuit accused the company of “rampant racism.”
The lawsuit, filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, alleges that Black employees have told their supervisors about the name calling for quite some time.
“Segregation at the Fremont factory, along with the absence of Black and/or African Americans in leadership roles, has left many complaints of rampant racism unchecked for years,” according to the complaint.
Instead of addressing the issue, the electric car giant has turned “a blind eye to years of complaints from Black workers who protest commonplace use of racial slurs on the assembly line,” according to the lawsuit.
“They have complained that swastikas, KKK, the n-word, and other racist writing are etched onto walls of restrooms, restroom stalls, lunch tables, and even factory machinery. They have complained that Black and/or African American workers are assigned to more physically demanding posts and the lowest-level contract roles, paid less, and more often terminated from employment than other workers.”
The lawsuit comes after an almost three-year investigation into the working conditions at Tesla’s plant in Fremont, California, DFEH said. The facility is 5.3 million square feet, and it sits on 370 acres. Tesla, founded in 2003, spent much of its existence in California, but is now relocating its headquarters to Texas.
Tesla employs roughly 99,290 workers globally. The company employs about 36,200 at the Fremont factory, court documents state. Tesla, the world’s largest electric vehicle maker, reported $53.8 billion in revenue last year.
In the lawsuit, California officials said Black workers are relegated to the lowest-rung jobs. The facility has no Black people in executive or manager roles, but Blacks make up 20 percent of the manual labor jobs like machine assembler or engine assembler, the lawsuit alleges.
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