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Tesla Workers Recount Experience With Racial Discrimination

Workers at some leading companies in Ohio and across the country may have good reason to be concerned about the continuing threat of racial discrimination. A New York Times report covered the experiences of black workers at Tesla, the electric car manufacturer. Journalists interviewed dozens of present and former Tesla workers at the company’s assembly plant in Fremont, California, and obtained numerous testimonies about instances of workplace harassment and discrimination. Among other issues, Tesla workers said that they were called racial slurs, taunted for their race, denied promotions and disproportionately assigned to menial tasks.

One worker recounted swastikas being drawn in the bathroom while another employee said that he was called the n-word and “boy” on the job. The documents collected by the journalists included firsthand accounts as well as legal statements and internal communications. Despite the widespread recounting of racially discriminatory practices, Tesla said that these incidents did not amount to a pattern of discrimination and that it encouraged a respectful environment.

The reports came after three former employees at the automaker filed a lawsuit recounting their experiences being called racial slurs and taunted with mocking caricatures by both co-workers at the same level and supervisors. Tesla said that the workers did not file complaints internally about these incidents, but some workers said that they did take action inside the company and received no results. One email from Elon Musk, Tesla’s former CEO, to factory staff urged people to treat each other with respect but also called on victims of racist behavior to forgive perpetrators who apologized.

Tesla, like other major corporations, appears to still struggle with workplace discrimination. Employees who have been mistreated, denied advancement or fired due to their race may wish to consult with an employment lawyer. An attorney may help workers file complaints and take further action to seek justice.

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