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Tesla is facing yet another racial discrimination lawsuit

A group of Black employees claim Tesla did nothing to stop racism in the workplace

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

15 former or current Black Tesla employees are suing the company for allegedly failing to prevent racial discrimination at its Fremont, California factory (via Bloomberg). The lawsuit, which was filed in a California court last week, details workers’ claims that they were subject to racial slurs, derogatory comments, and racially-motivated harassment in the workplace.

As outlined in the filing, workers allege that their colleagues frequently used the N-word and other racist or discriminatory terms like “slavery” or “plantation” to describe the factory’s work culture. In addition, Tesla allegedly left racist graffiti on bathroom walls, benches, lockers, and workstations that contained “KKK,” the N-word, and drawings of swastikas.

The lawsuit claims management also took part in the harassment, “ignored repeated complaints and reports” regarding the issue, and retaliated against workers “for reporting and complaining about the discrimination.” One former worker, Jasmin Wilson, claims she was sexually and racially harassed by her coworkers and managers. Her managers allegedly did nothing to report the discrimination and instead established policies targeting Wilson in retaliation for her complaints.

Another worker, Nathaniel Aziel Gonsalves, claims he was suddenly fired after nine years at Tesla in retaliation for continually reporting racial discrimination at the company. Several other workers claim they were denied promotions on the basis of race, as well as given the “most physically demanding” jobs at Tesla.

This most recent lawsuit is just one of many targeting Tesla for alleged racial discrimination and other forms of workplace harassment. Last year, a Black former elevator operator won his case that accused Tesla of not doing enough to prevent racial discrimination — he was awarded a reduced payout of $15 million. The company also reportedly paid $1 million to an employee who claimed the company did nothing after he was called a racial slur by his supervisor.

In February, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit against Tesla that claims the company’s Fremont factory is a “racially segregated environment where Black workers are subjected to racial slurs and discriminated against.” The automaker’s also under investigation by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Tesla has denied claims of discrimination in a post on its blog, stating the company “strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment.”