Tesla to Pay $137 Million for Discriminatory Treatment


A San Francisco federal court has ordered the renowned Fortune 500 company Tesla to pay $137 million as compensation to a black employee, Owen Diaz, who worked as an elevator operator at the plant in Fremont. 

Diaz was a contract employee during 2015 and 2016. He has accused Tesla of disregarding racial abuse and discrimination at its plant. 

As stated in an article in Engadget, Diaz claimed that employees of Tesla left racist graffiti, offensive cartoons and drawings of Swastikas at the factory premises and supervisors failed to take action to stop the abuse. 

The lawsuit indicated the company’s positive image shown to the public is only a cover as they treat African-American employees in a discriminatory manner. 

Diaz was awarded $6.9 million for emotional stress by the jury. Further, $130 million was awarded as punitive damages against the company. It was known as one of the largest individual race discrimination cases and took four years to receive the verdict. 

However, the VP of Human Resources at Tesla moderated the accusations stated in the lawsuit with a blog post. According to Tesla’s blog post, the witnesses assumed discriminatory language was usually used in a friendly manner among African-American co-workers. 

The company has further stated that it terminated two contractors and suspended another in response to the complaints made by Diaz. Tesla has not yet communicated its plans to appeal. 

We at First Response are ready to support you to develop an inclusive and professional company environment by carrying out workplace investigations, providing an employee hotline and HR advisors. 

Contact us for more information. 

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