Former Tesla workers sue company over claims of 'racially motivated abuse'

Three former workers from Telsa's Fremont factory have filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Courthouse against the company, claiming they experienced racial discrimination and harassment on the job.

The news was first reported by Mercury News.

Tesla's Fremont factory is being closely scrutinised as it struggles to ramp up production for its first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3.

The 16 October lawsuit claims black workers at the Fremont factory were subject to racist epithets and discrimination. Tesla will also attend a 14 November hearing before the National Labor Relations Board, which claims the company violated the rights of workers, suppressing their unionisation efforts.

According to a Tesla representative, the employees named in the suit never filed official complaints saying they were subject to racist epithets and discrimination.

"In situations where Tesla is at fault, we will never seek to avoid responsibility," the Tesla representative said in an email statement to Business Insider. "But in this instance, from what we know so far, this does not seem to be such a case."

The three African American men named in the suit are all African American. They were hired by Tesla through three different employment agencies: Citistaff Solutions, West Valley Staffing Group, and Chartwell Staffing Services, that are also named in the suit.

Meanwhile, Tesla fired hundreds of workers last week, but how many workers were let go is not clear. According to some estimates, the number may be as high as 1,200 people. Tesla is required to notify the State of California of layoffs, but Tesla maintains that the workers were terminated, not laid off.

The company has not yet disclosed the reason for so many dismissals at one go, saying only that the dismissals resulted from annual performance reviews. The company claims in a statement that those same performance reviews also resulted in an unspecified number of promotions. ''As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures,'' the company says.