Nearly 6,000 Black employees at Tesla allowed to collectively sue for discrimination, harassment

Report cites 'pattern of practice' of failing to take steps to prevent discrimination

Nearly 6,000 Black employees at Tesla allowed to collectively sue for discrimination, harassment

Nearly 6,000 Black employees of Tesla Inc. have been granted temporary permission to proceed with a class action suit against their employer for failing to address discrimination and harassment, according to reports.

The Alameda County Superior Court handed down on Wednesday a tentative order to the factory workers of Tesla's Fremont plant allowing them to collectively sue their employer, Bloomberg reported.

According to the report, order cited Tesla's alleged "pattern of practice" of failing to take reasonable steps to prevent discrimination, noting that the issue was common among Black employees at the plant.

The lawsuit was first filed by Tesla employee Marcus Vaughn in 2017, who alleged that the plant's Black factory workers were subjected to racist conduct from colleagues and supervisors.

The employees' complaints to the human resources department were also unanswered, Bloomberg reported.

Lawrence Organ, Vaughn's lawyer, told Reuters that he was "heartened" by the ruling.

"I think the numerous complaints over time show how Tesla failed to prevent racial harassment of its Black employees," Organ told Reuters in an email.

Tesla's response to claims of discrimination

Tesla has not issued a statement to address the ruling, but it was given until Thursday to contest it.

Back in 2017, the car maker addressed Vaughn's accusations on a blog post.

"Tesla is absolutely against any form of discrimination, harassment, or unfair treatment of any kind. When we hear complaints, we take them very seriously, investigate thoroughly and, if proven to be true, take immediate action," it read.

The blog post also outlined several "false statements" from the lawsuit, including Vaughn's employment status, his alleged termination, among others.

Tesla has been the subject of various lawsuits related to racism and discrimination in the workplace.

Last year, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the car maker for racial harassment and retaliation.

In 2021, it was ordered to pay $137 million to former elevator operator also at Fremont factory who also alleged a toxic and racist workplace. It is now appealing the verdict after a second trial ruled that the award was excessive.

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