Tesla may be facing a class-action lawsuit after 240 Black workers said they've experienced or witnessed rampant racism and discrimination at a San Francisco Bay Area plant.
On Monday (June 5), testimonies from contractors and employees who worked at a Tesla factory in Fremont were filed in Alameda County Superior Court detailing the frequent use of racial slurs and instances where the manufacturing site was referred to as a plantation and slave ship, per the Associated Press.
The individual testimonies are part of a 2017 lawsuit in which Marcus Vaughn alleged that he was called slurs by co-workers and supervisors. Despite reporting the incidents to human resources and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, no investigation was conducted, and Vaughn was fired for “not having a positive attitude,” according to his lawyers.
The lawsuit is among several that allege racism and discrimination at the Fremont plant.
Bryan Schwartz, one of Vaughn's lawyers, said the case has dragged on for years because of Tesla's attempts to force the lawsuit into arbitration. However, the California Supreme Court moved in April to allow Black workers to seek a public injunction in court.
"To have this scope of egregious harassment right here in Silicon Valley, it's disgusting," Schwartz said, adding that it's shocking that "Tesla has allowed this kind of pervasive harassment to go on as long as it has."
In one testimony, production associate Albert Blakes said it was difficult to go to work knowing he would face hours of racist slurs, references to slavery, and offensive graffiti. Blake said he reported the incidents to human resources in late 2021, but nothing ever came of it.
"Something needs to be done to hold Tesla accountable for the racism that takes place at the Fremont factory to set an example that this racism is not tolerated in workplaces in California," he said.