The Strategist

Tesla to pay $137M in racism case

10/06/2021 - 06:51

A California state trial court has ordered Tesla to pay $137m to its former employee Owen Diaz, who claimed he was subjected to racist and discriminatory treatment at work.

harry_nl via flickr
harry_nl via flickr
Mr. Diaz, who is a former Black contractor, worked at the Tesla plant from June 2015 to May 2016. He said colleagues made racist comments about him almost daily, he found racist graffiti and drawings in the staff toilets, and some colleagues said he "should go back to Africa". 

His bosses did not respond to his complaints, so Owen Diaz was under constant stress and did not sleep at night. In the end, the court found that the company had failed to prevent racism in the workplace and imposed a heavy fine.

Legal experts say Owen Diaz's case is unique not only because of the size of the fine, but also because Tesla makes sure its employees resolve labour disputes by mutual agreement, without having to take their case to court. 

Tesla officials have acknowledged the racism against Mr. Dias, but claim that "the company has intervened in what is happening". It is not yet known whether Tesla intends to appeal the court's decision.