The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Tesla, claiming that the company violated federal law by permitting widespread and ongoing racial harassment of its Black employees and punishing some for objecting to the harassment.
EEOC’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, explains how Black employees have routinely been subjected to racist remarks and graffiti, including swastikas and nooses, from 2015 to now.
The EEOC said in the lawsuit that Tesla refused to look into allegations of racist behavior and dismissed or retaliated against employees who reported harassment. The lawsuit adds federal charges to California’s discrimination claims and Tesla employees’ cases. It follows the breakdown of settlement negotiations with the EEOC after Tesla reported that the agency had formally expressed its concerns last year.
The EEOC frequently settles litigation with employers, and it is relatively rare for the agency’s cases to go to trial. A state civil rights organization in California earlier sued Tesla for the same reasons. Additionally, a jury previously ordered Tesla to pay Owen Diaz, a Black former employee, nearly $3.2 million in damages after concluding that Diaz experienced racist discrimination in 2015 while working there.
Tesla disclosed in a financial report last year that the EEOC had issued a cause finding against the company. Following that, according to the petition, Tesla participated in a required conciliation procedure with the EEOC. The unsuccessful attempt at conciliation resulted in the lawsuit being publicized on September 28.