Tesla on hot water for Employee Discrimination

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is facing yet another employee discrimination scandal as an African American worker claimed in a lawsuit that he faced “severe and pervasive harassment” while working for the electric automotive manufacturer, first reported by Bloomberg.

The employee says that he is one of more than 100 African American workers affected by the racism and is actively pursuing a lawsuit against Tesla. He’s looking for monetary damages as well as Tesla to improve upon discrimination ongoing within the company.

The complaint, filed by Marcus Vaughn, claims that employees were called racial slurs. Vaughn then reached out to Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, about the complaint, but was fired in October for not having a “positive attitude.”

"Although Tesla stands out as a groundbreaking company at the forefront of the electric car revolution, its standard operating procedure at the Tesla factory is pre-Civil Rights era race discrimination," the employee said in the complaint, filed Monday in California’s Alameda County Superior Court.

Vaughn also stated in the complaint that Tesla is a “hotbed for racist behavior.”

This isn’t the first time Tesla employees faced an unfair working environment. In early September, former Tesla employees filed a complaint stating that the company made them sign confidentiality papers barring them from discussing the working environment, and if broken, they would face termination or criminal prosecution.

In October, Tesla fired nearly 700 employees to ramp up its Model 3 production, but workers were not given prior notice to the termination. Tesla says that the termination was part of an annually performance inspection.

According to the complaint filed, Musk sent an email to Tesla employees on May 31.

“Part of not being a huge jerk is considering how someone might feel who is part of [a] historically less represented group,” Musk wrote in the email. “Sometimes these things happen unintentionally, in which case you should apologize. In fairness, if someone is a jerk to you, but sincerely apologizes, it is important to be thick-skinned and accept that apology.”

“The law doesn’t require you to have a thick skin,” Organ said in an interview Monday. "Tesla is not doing enough. It’s somewhat akin to saying ‘stop being politically correct.’ When you have a diverse workforce, you need to take steps to make sure everyone feels welcome in that workforce."

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