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EEOC files a lawsuit against Tesla on allegations of racial harassment of Black employees

The EEOC’s suit alleges that Black employees at Tesla’s Fremont, California manufacturing facilities have repeatedly faced racial abuse, stereotyping, hostility, and epithets like “monkey,” “boy,” and “black b*tch” since 2015. In busy places and labor hubs, slurs were casually used.

The EEOC said that black workers often saw N-word, swastika, threat, and noose graffiti on workstations, other equipment, restroom stalls, elevators, and even new automobiles coming off the assembly line.

The EEOC concluded that individuals who opposed racial antagonism were fired, demoted, transferred, and otherwise retaliated against.

After EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows filed a commissioner’s charge stating that Tesla violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by creating a hostile work environment and retaliating against Black workers who opposed harassment, the EEOC investigated Tesla. Employers must investigate and stop racial harassment under Title VII.

After trying conciliation, the EEOC filed its complaint (EEOC v Tesla, Inc., Case No. 4:23-cv-04984) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The EEOC’s action seeks compensatory and punitive penalties, back pay, and injunctive relief to modify Tesla’s hiring practices to avoid future discrimination.

“EEOC strategic enforcement priorities include workplace systemic harassment. Racial discrimination in the workplace persists, as shown by EEOC cases this fiscal year.

Burrows said that every worker deserves civil rights, and no worker should face the horrible racial discrimination our inquiry showed.

Today’s complaint shows that no firm is above the law, and the EEOC will rigorously enforce federal civil rights safeguards to keep American workplaces free from harassment and retribution.

EEOC San Francisco District Office Director Nancy Sienko stated, “When you let a standard slip, you set a new standard. Deciding that frequent racial insults are not serious and neglecting to remove harassing behavior sends the incorrect message to workers.

It also violates an employer’s legal duty to promptly and effectively eliminate race-based harassment.”

EEOC San Francisco District Office Regional Attorney Roberta L. Steele stated, “The allegations in this case are disturbing. No worker should have to endure racial harassment and retaliation to earn a living six decades after Title VII.”

Senior Trial Attorney James Baker and Assistant Regional Attorney Marcia Mitchell will lead this case.

The EEOC’s San Francisco District Office, which covers Northern California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, and Montana, filed the claim. San Francisco District offices are in Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle.

The EEOC enforces federal employment discrimination statutes to promote workplace opportunity.

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Written by Anthony Peters