Rampant Racial Harassment Allegedly Includes Use of Term “Nigger” Throughout Tesla’s Fremont Factory
According to a class action lawsuit filed this week in Alameda County, standard operating procedure at the futuristic Tesla factory in Fremont, California, is to repeat the worst of America’s past: replete with pre-Civil Rights Era-style race discrimination.
Per the lawsuit, African-American workers are routinely called “nigger” and “nigga,” and this harassment has only become more widespread since multiple prior individual lawsuits exposed the factory’s racist underbelly.
The suit, filed jointly by two Oakland-based civil rights law firms, California Civil Rights Law Group (CCRLG) and Bryan Schwartz Law, maintains that, despite its knowledge of the harassment, Tesla has done nothing that could be reasonably expected to stop the pattern and practice of racism. Supervisors regularly witness employees engaging in racist name-calling, and engage in such harassment themselves, with no company action to stop them.
Plaintiff Marcus Vaughn began working at the Tesla Factory on April 23, 2017 as a General Assembly Associate. Shortly thereafter, employees and supervisors began targeting him for harassment on the basis of his race, including referring to him as “nigger” and “nigga” on a regular basis. On July 21, 2017, Mr. Vaughn complained in writing to Human Resources and Elon Musk about the hostile work environment. Tesla did not conduct an investigation into Mr. Vaughn’s complaint, nor was he interviewed about his serious allegations of racism at the Tesla Factory. Instead, Tesla terminated Mr. Vaughn on October 31, 2017 for “not having a positive attitude.”
“When one complaint after another is made about racist conduct to supervisors, managers and human resources personnel, yet nothing is done to protect African-American employees at Tesla’s Factory, we have an obligation as civil rights lawyers to protect all workers in the Factory,” said Larry Organ of CCRLG.
“How disappointing for a company that considers itself a leader in the new economy – and its pioneering CEO – headquartered in the most progressive part of America – to be so backward when it comes to civil rights,” said Schwartz. “With this lawsuit, we aim to change how this company treats its black employees,” he added.
The lawsuit was filed in Alameda County Superior Court under Docket No. RG17882082. A copy of the complaint is available here.