A former assembly line worker at the Fremont factory is looking to add nearly 240 more plaintiffs to his racism case against Tesla. The 2017 lawsuit claimed that the Fremont Factory was a “hotbed of racist behavior.”
As per Marcus Vaughn, who filed the initial lawsuit against the electric vehicle maker, a class-action status would be appropriate to address Tesla’s failure to stop a “pattern and practice of race discrimination.” The request, which came in the form of a court filing on Monday, was backed with sworn statements from other former Black Tesla workers and contractors.
The statements cited a number of alleged racial offenses, with the former employees and contractors claiming that they were also affected by racist graffiti in the Fremont Factory’s common areas, as noted in a Fortune report. Other offensive acts, such as the reported use of slurs in the workplace like “boy” and “monkey,” was also described.
A female worker terminated in 2018 noted in a court declaration that a co-worker had told her that she had “monkey toes.” She was also reportedly called “Nicki Minaj” despite her having no resemblance to the rapper. Another worker who left the EV maker in 2020 noted that he was advised to keep his head down and mind his own business when he complained about offensive language and unfair treatment.
Tesla, for its part, has not issued a comment about the matter as of writing. That being said, the company did publish a blog post addressing Vaughn’s claims back in 2017. The post, titled “Hotbed of Misinformation,” argued that Tesla does what it could to make the Fremont Factory as safe for its employees as possible. The post also noted that the company had terminated several workers related to Vaughn’s case.
“Regarding yesterday’s lawsuit, several months ago we had already investigated disappointing behavior involving a group of individuals who worked on or near Marcus Vaughn’s team. At the time, our investigation identified a number of conflicting accusations and counter-accusations between several African-American and Hispanic individuals, alleging use of racial language, including the “n-word” and “w-word,” towards each other and a threat of violence. After a thorough investigation, immediate action was taken, which included terminating the employment of three of the individuals.
“We believe this was the fair and just response to the facts that we learned. There will be further action as necessary, including parting ways with anyone whose behavior prevents Tesla from being a great place to work and making sure we do everything possible to stop bad behavior from happening in the first place. Our company has more than 33,000 employees, with over 10,000 in the Fremont factory alone, so it is not humanly possible to stop all bad conduct, but we will do our best to make it as close to zero as possible,” Tesla wrote.
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