Tesla has downplayed allegations of racism after the company was ordered to pay almost $137 million to a Black former worker who said he suffered racial abuse at the electric carmaker’s factory.
Owen Diaz alleged in a lawsuit that he faced “daily racist epithets,” including the “n-word,” while working as a contracted elevator operator at Tesla’s Fremont plant in 2015 and 2016 before quitting. Diaz also alleged that employees drew swastikas and left racist drawings around the factory, and that supervisors failed to stop the abuse despite repeated complaints.
A jury in San Francisco agreed that Diaz was subjected to racial harassment and a hostile work environment. They awarded $130 million in punitive damages and $6.9 for emotional distress, his attorney Lawrence Organ, of the California Civil Rights Law Group, told The Washington Post. Organ has been contacted for additional comment.