Thursday, September 21, 2023

Tesla blames ‘turf war’ for overlapping investigations into racial bias at its factory

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Tesla is asking a judge to postpone a lawsuit filed by the California Civil Rights Bureau, which accuses the company of racial discrimination and harassment at its Fremont, California plant.

In a filing in Oakland state court, Tesla revealed that it is also under investigation by another civil rights agency into similar allegations, accusing both agencies of waging a “grass war.” The news was: first reported by Reuters

Last February, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit against Tesla, accusing the company of operating a “racially segregated” workplace.

In its lawsuit this week, Tesla revealed that it is also under investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The company accused DFEH of rushing its lawsuit in an effort to get ahead of the EEOC investigation, calling it a “bare bones” investigation. Reuters

Tesla asks the court to suspend the DFEH lawsuit until it is able to resolve the EEOC investigation. The company also accused DFEH of violating a state law that requires it to meet certain thresholds before suing an employer.

This isn’t the first time DFEH and EEOC have faced complaints of employee harassment. The state agency recently lost a bid to block EEOC’s $18 million settlement with Activision Blizzard over a gender-based claim of discrimination and sexual harassment. Last summer, DFEH filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for fostering a culture of “constant sexual harassment.”

Tesla has had to deal with numerous accusations of racial discrimination and harassment at the Fremont plant. Last October, a jury awarded a black former Tesla employee $137 million in damages after he accused the company of ignoring racial abuse and discrimination. (A judge later reduced that price to $15 million.)

The company also paid $1 million to another black former employee who said he was called the n-word by a supervisor. Tesla currently facing a class-action lawsuit claimed racism in its flagship factory.

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