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Tesla workfloor a hotbed for racist behaviour, says ex-employee in lawsuit

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14 November 2017

An African-American employee has alleged in a lawsuit that Tesla Inc's production floor is a "hotbed for racist behaviour," and black workers at the electric car maker suffer severe and pervasive harassment.

According to the employee, he is one of the over 100 African-American Tesla workers affected and is seeking permission from a judge to sue on behalf of the group.

He is seeking unspecified general and punitive monetary damages as also an order for Tesla to implement policies to prevent and correct harassment.

"Although Tesla stands out as a groundbreaking company at the forefront of the electric car revolution, its standard operating procedure at the Tesla factory is pre-Civil Rights era race discrimination," the employee said in the complaint, filed yesterday in California's Alameda County Superior Court.

Tesla which has around 33,000 employees globally, has never publicly released its diversity statistics. Over 10,000 people work at its sole auto-assembly plant in Fremont, California, where the United Auto Workers have launched a campaign to persuade workers to join the union.

On the company's most recent earnings call, chief executive officer Elon Musk acknowledged that the company recently fired about 700 workers for low performance.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Marcus Vaughn, who worked in the Fremont factory from 23 April to 31 October.

According to Vaughn employees and supervisors regularly used the ''N word'' around him and other black colleagues. He added, he complained in writing to human resources and Musk and was terminated in late October for "not having a positive attitude."

"Although Tesla stands out as a groundbreaking company at the forefront of the electric car revolution, its standard operating procedure at the Tesla factory is pre-Civil Rights era race discrimination," the employee said in the complaint, filed yesterday.





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