Tesla says it’s also being investigated by the federal equal opportunity agency – TechCrunch
A US federal agency that enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination can now be added to the list of agencies investigating Tesla.
In a court filing on Monday relating to a separate case, the automaker revealed that the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was conducting an “open investigation” into Tesla, a finding first reported by Bloomberg. . The disclosure was hidden in a filing in California Superior Court in Alameda County regarding a case involving the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Tesla attorneys asked a judge in the April 18 filing to stay a California lawsuit alleging racial discrimination and harassment at Tesla’s Fremont manufacturing plant.
Tesla says the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which filed a lawsuit against Tesla in February, is overstepping its legal authority and “using litigation as a tactic of intimidation and to advance its war.” of territory” with the EEOC, which had already been investigating the automaker before DFEH filed its complaint. (The “turf war” Tesla refers to involves the EEOC settling a sexual harassment lawsuit against video game company Activision Blizzard.)
TechCrunch has reached out to DFEH and EEOC for comment. We’ll update the article if either agency responds.
When the DFEH filed the lawsuit, it said it had received ‘hundreds of worker complaints’ and found evidence that the Fremont plant is a ‘segregated workplace where black workers face racial slurs. and discriminated against in work assignments, discipline, compensation and promotion creating a hostile work environment. Tesla posted a blog in February attacking the DFEH and calling the lawsuit “misguided.”
Tesla attorneys noted in Monday’s filing that the DFEH did not show the company the workers’ complaints before the agency filed its complaint in February.
In October 2021, Tesla was ordered to pay $137 million in damages to a black former contractor who accused the company of ignoring racial discrimination and abuse — like slurs and swastika graffiti — in the same factory. While U.S. District Judge William Orrick agreed with the jury’s finding, he was forced to reduce the punitive damages to $15 million.
Earlier, in 2017, a former employee also filed a lawsuit against Tesla for failing to investigate allegations that the employee was repeatedly called the “n-word” at the Fremont factory, which has been described in that lawsuit as “a hotbed of racist behavior”. ”