A federal jury in San Francisco has found Tesla Inc. guilty of racial discrimination and fostering a racially hostile environment against a non-white employee. Owen Diaz worked as an elevator operator at Tesla’s Freemont, California facility. There he was subjected to threatening graffiti and daily racial slurs. Diaz, a contractor, who was hired between 2015-2016, walked into a racially feral and hostile workplace. During the court case Diaz revealed to the jury;
“Some days I would just sit on my stairs and cry,”, suffered weight loss and “sleepless nights”.
Diaz also revealed he was subjected to daily taunts and slurs where the “N” word was normalised. Tesla mounted a defense, but the evidence against the company was too great and the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff, Owen Diaz. Diaz was awarded $6M for emotional distress and a further $130M in punitive damages.
Larry Organ, one of the lawyers representing Owen Diaz said;
“The jury verdict sends a message to one of the wealthiest companies in the world that it must treat all its employees with dignity and respect,”
This isn’t the first case involving workplace racism at Tesla, in May another non-white Tesla employee was awarded $1M damages for being subjected to workplace racism.
After the trial concluded last week, Tesla’s VP for People sent an email to Freemont staff and workers detailing Diaz’s treatment during his time working at Tesla and the outcome of the verdict. The email both denies and admits Diaz was subjected to racially offensive abuse.