Tesla heading back to court as EEOC files lawsuit alleging discrimination against Black employees
Tesla has found itself at the center of another federal racial discrimination lawsuit over its alleged treatment of Black employees.
According to ABC News, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, accusing the automotive manufacturer of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by subjecting Black staffers at the Fremont, California, production facility to racial harassment, stereotyping and hostility since at least May 29, 2015.
Tesla allegedly broke federal law by “tolerating widespread and ongoing racial harassment of its Black employees and by subjecting some of these workers to retaliation for opposing the harassment,” according to the lawsuit.
The EEOC also alleges that Tesla “unlawfully retaliated against Black employees who opposed actions they perceived to constitute unlawful employment discrimination,” the lawsuit noted, including modifications in job duties and schedules, unjustified write-ups, terminations and transfers. Various racist insults were used against Black employees regularly and casually, it asserts — frequently in highly staffed areas.
Established by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC is a federal organization that seeks to safeguard civil rights in the workplace.
“The allegations in this case are disturbing,” said Roberta L. Steele, regional attorney for the EEOC San Francisco District Office. “No worker should have to endure racial harassment and retaliation to earn a living six decades after the enactment of Title VII.”
The EEOC stated it had investigated Tesla after EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows filed a commissioner’s complaint about the electric car maker’s alleged treatment of Black employees. The agency claims it sought “to reach a pre-litigation settlement through conciliation” before initiating the lawsuit.
In response to a separate discrimination lawsuit brought against Tesla in 2022 by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Tesla stated the company “strongly opposes” all forms of discrimination.
The EEOC wants Tesla to compensate victims and obtain an injunction prohibiting the electric vehicle company from engaging in alleged discriminatory practices.
“Every employee deserves to have their civil rights respected, and no worker should endure the kind of shameful racial bigotry our investigation revealed,” Burrows said.
She added that the “lawsuit makes clear that no company is above the law, and the EEOC will vigorously enforce federal civil rights protections to help ensure American workplaces are free from unlawful harassment and retaliation.”
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