A federal judge rejected Tesla’s bid to dismiss claims by two former employees that the California EV manufacturing unit where they worked was a hotbed of racial hostility, clearing the way for a potential trial.
In a decision on Monday, U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco heard open questions over whether Owen Diaz and his son Demetric Di-az confronted “severe and pervasive racial harassment” in 2015 and 2016 at Tesla’s manufacturing facility in suburban Fremont, which employs over 10,000 individuals.
The plaintiffs, who’re black, stated they had been subjected to repeated racial designations dozens of times, as well as racist cartoons, and that supervisor engaged in or did little to cease the racism.
Orrick said Diaz could pursue claims that Tesla admitted and didn’t take adequate steps to cease racial harassment.
He stated punitive damages might be available if Tesla must have recognized in regards to the harassment and “ratified” it, even if only lower-level employees had been involved.
Tesla and its lawyers didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
The Palo Alto, California-based firm has faced several racial harassment suits; however, it is just not the only auto company to face such claims in recent times.
In 2017, Ford Motor agreed to pay as much as $10.1 million to settle a federal inquiry into alleged harassment at two Chicago manufacturing units.
Tesla has in court docket mentioned it “didn’t hesitate” to address racial abuse at the Fremont manufacturing unit, and there was no proof of “oppression, malice, or fraud.”
Orrick further stated Diaz could pursue claims against a staffing company that assigned him to the manufacturing unit, and a mediator between Tesla and that company.