Tesla’s filing of a lawsuit against the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) can be pursued, but it will not pause the agency’s race bias suit against the electric automaker, a judge ruled on Wednesday.
In April, Tesla urged judges to pause the lawsuit the DFEH filed in February against Tesla as the agency “has been asked on almost 50 occasions by individuals who believe they were discriminated against or harassed to investigate Tesla,” the automaker wrote. “On every single occasion, when the DFEH closed an investigation, it did not find misconduct against Tesla. It therefore strains credibility for the agency to now allege, after a three-year investigation, that systematic racial discrimination and harassment somehow existed at Tesla. A narrative spun by the DFEH and a handful of plaintiff firms to generate publicity is not factual proof,” Tesla said.
However, it has been ruled the suit against Tesla will move forward, despite the automaker’s request.
California Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo stated Tesla could still pursue its claim against the agency, which it filed on Tuesday. However, the DFEH case against Tesla, which claims the automaker failed to meet various requirements prior to the agency suing the electric car company in February, will continue to move forward. Judge Grillo said it was inappropriate to pause the suit, according to Reuters.
Lawyers for Tesla stated the suit should be paused so the DFEH and the automaker could settle outside of court. However, Grillo said he lacked the power to pause a suit because judges “cannot typically order an agency to exercise its discretion in a particular way. That’s kind of a big no-no.”
After Tesla filed its case on Tuesday, Grillo said he was leaning toward allowing the suit to proceed.
Tesla’s ten-page complaint was filed Tuesday and stated that the DFEH, along with the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL), adopted “underground regulations” that disregard basic requirements that need to be met before lawsuits can be filed in a justified manner. In February, Tesla was accused of operating a racially segregated workplace at its Fremont production facility in Northern California.
Tesla’s Tuesday filing challenged the DFEH lawsuit by claiming the agency violated California laws by not first notifying the automaker of the claims nor giving the company a chance to settle with victims prior to a lawsuit being filed. Tesla challenged the claims just before the lawsuit was made public, but was aware it was going to be subjected to a suit from the DFEH based on the toxic workplace claims.