Tesla paid $137 million to former employees for racism at work. Business and Economic News


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The jury stated that former contractors hired through personnel agencies were affected by the racially hostile work environment.

According to the man’s lawyer, Tesla lost a trial against a black former elevator operator and had to pay him $137 million because of the damage he suffered at the electric car manufacturer’s Northern California plant. Racial taunts and offensive graffiti turned a blind eye.

Lawrence Organ, Diaz’s lawyer, said that Owen Diaz was a former contractor hired through a personnel agency in 2015. A federal jury in San Francisco ruled on Monday that his work environment is racially racial. hostility. The verdict cannot be immediately confirmed in the electronic court records.

The Diaz case marks a rare example. Tesla usually uses compulsory arbitration to resolve employee disputes and has to defend itself in public trials. The company has almost never lost a workplace arbitration, even though it received $1 million in damages in May in a case brought by another former employee similar to Diaz.

The outcome of the trial may encourage shareholder activists, who have pushed Tesla’s board of directors to use arbitration to resolve complaints about sexual harassment and racial discrimination, but they have not yet succeeded. The board of directors urged investors to vote against such a proposal at the October 7 shareholder meeting, although other major Silicon Valley companies, from Alphabet Inc. to Uber Technologies Inc., have waived the use of mandatory arbitration.

Tesla and its lawyer Tracy Kennedy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tesla argued that it never intended to ignore the rights and safety of African-American workers placed by human resources agencies, and all incidents reported by Diaz have been investigated and resolved.

Kennedy said in his closing statement to the jury: “Mr. Diaz’s story is totally unreasonable” because he encouraged his son and daughter to work in the company. She also said that Diaz’s claim was not supported by evidence.

Diaz’s lawyer, J. Bernard Alexander III, told the jurors, “In contrast to the zero tolerance policy, Tesla has a zero liability policy.”

Alexander said that the “n-word” “is everywhere, almost everywhere”. At the end of his speech, he quoted some phrases from “The Mountain We Climb”, a poem by 23-year-old poet Amanda Gorman, who was inaugurated by President Joe Biden in January The whole country was moved at the ceremony. Alexander said that “becoming an American” is about walking into the past and “how do we fix it.”

Diaz himself testified that he suffered “sleepless nights” and weight loss due to loss of appetite.

“Sometimes I sit on the stairs and cry,” he told the jury.

According to Diaz’s other lawyer, Ogan, the jury’s verdict included $6.9 million in mental pain and $130 million in punitive damages.

Organ stated that he hopes this ruling will encourage Tesla to do this “re-evaluation” so that other black employees do not have to endure similar treatment. “The jury’s verdict sends a message to one of the richest companies in the world that it must treat all employees with dignity and respect,” he said.

Organ also joined the team on behalf of Melvin Berry, a black ex-employee who won a $1 million arbitration award for claiming that the company failed to prevent his Fremont factory supervisor from calling him “N-word”.

Tesla is facing another case involving similar charges, which is currently proceeding as a class action in the California court in Oakland.

The case is Diaz v. Tesla Inc., 17-cv-06748, United States District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

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