The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has taken legal action against Tesla, filing a federal lawsuit that alleges racial harassment and discrimination against Black employees. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, follows an EEOC investigation into Tesla’s treatment of its Black workforce. The lawsuit claims that Tesla has violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by permitting racial abuse, stereotyping, and hostility towards Black employees at its Fremont, California, manufacturing facilities.
Allegations of Racial Harassment and Discrimination
The lawsuit, obtained by ABC News, asserts that since at least May 29, 2015, Tesla has engaged in actions that violate federal law. The allegations include racial slurs, abuse, stereotyping, and an overall hostile environment for Black employees. The EEOC statement released on Thursday states that Tesla not only tolerated widespread racial harassment but also subjected some workers to retaliation for opposing such harassment. The lawsuit contends that Tesla unlawfully retaliated against Black employees who opposed actions perceived as discriminatory.
Racial Slurs and Retaliation
The lawsuit highlights the routine and casual use of racial slurs against Black employees, often occurring in high-traffic areas. Employees who spoke out against the alleged harassment faced retaliation from Tesla, according to the EEOC. Retaliatory actions reportedly included changes in job duties and schedules, unjustified write-ups, terminations, and transfers.
As of now, Tesla has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment on the EEOC’s lawsuit. However, Tesla previously stated that it “strongly opposes” all forms of discrimination in response to a discrimination lawsuit filed in 2022 by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
EEOC’s Legal Demands
The EEOC is seeking legal remedies, including court-ordered back pay for victims and an injunction to prevent Tesla from continuing alleged discriminatory practices. The EEOC Chair, Charlotte A. Burrows, emphasized that no company is above the law, and the commission is committed to enforcing federal civil rights protections.