Tesla should face a trial in a California factory alleging “widespread racial harassment.”
A federal judge rejected Tesla Inc.’s attempt to dismiss the claims of two former workers that the California electric car factory where they worked was an attraction to racial hostility that cleared the way for a possible trial.
In a ruling on Monday, US District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco told Owen Diaz and his son Demetrique Diaz faced “severe and widespread racial harassment” at the Tesla factory in the suburbs of Fremont in 2015 and 2016, including more than 10,000 employees working.
The plaintiffs, who are black, said they were subjected to racial references dozens of times, as well as racist cartoons and observers more or less to stop or condone racism.
Orrick said Diaz could continue with the claim that Tesla allowed and did not take appropriate measures to stop racial harassment.
He said punitive damages might be available if Tesla is aware of the harassment and “confirmed” it, even if only lower-level workers are directly involved.
A trial is scheduled for May 11, 2020. Tesla and his lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Palo Alto, California-based company has faced numerous demands of racial harassment, but it is not the only car manufacturer that has faced such claims in recent years.
In 2017, Ford Motor Company agreed to pay $ 10.1 million to settle a federal investigation into alleged harassment at two Chicago plants.
Tesla has stated in court documents that he did not hesitate to “address racial abuse in the Fremont factory” and that “there was no evidence of harassment, malice or fraud.”
Orrick also said Diaz could file claims against a personnel agency that commissioned him to establish a link between the factory and Tesla and that agency.
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Lawrence Organ, said his clients seek damages in “millions” of dollars.”Tesla is not sending a message that such behavior is not allowed in the workplace,” he said in an interview.
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