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Tesla Is Being Sued by California’s Civil Rights Regulator Over ‘Rampant Racism’ at Its Factory

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California’s civil rights regulator sued Tesla Inc. for racial discrimination and harassment after finding a widespread pattern of mistreatment of Black workers at the electric car-maker’s factory near San Francisco.

During a three-year investigation, the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing said it received complaints from hundreds of workers and found evidence that Tesla’s Fremont plant is a “racially segregated workplace.”

“Segregation at the Fremont factory, along with the absence of Black and/or African Americans in leadership roles, has left many complaints of rampant racism unchecked for years,” according to the complaint filed in Alameda County Superior Court. “As early as 2012, Black and/or African American Tesla workers have complained that Tesla production leads, supervisors, and managers constantly use the n-word and other racial slurs to refer to Black workers.”

The agency said it tried to work with Tesla to avoid litigation but the company walked away from mediation.

Tesla said in a Feb. 8 blog post titled “The DFEH’s Misguided Lawsuit”—before the complaint was filed—that the company “will be asking the court to pause the case and take other steps to ensure that facts and evidence will be heard.”

The case is Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Tesla Inc., 22CV006830, California Superior Court, Alameda County.

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