Tesla to pay millions to ex-worker in racism case. Why it's a ‘win’ for EV giant

  • Owen Diaz had said he was subjected to racist abuse and a hostile work environment at the Tesla plant in California.
File photo used for representational purpose. (AP)
File photo used for representational purpose.

Tesla has been ordered by a jury to pay a former employee a sum of $3.2 million in a racism-related case. Owen Diaz, a former employee of Tesla and a person of African-American origin, had accused the electric vehicle giant of ignoring complaints of racism at its California plant.

Many see the recent order as a win of sorts for Tesla because it was a retrial and previously, the company had been ordered to pay Diaz $137 million in a trial that ended in October of 2021. A judge then had reduced this amount but Diaz had turned down the judge's proffered damages amount in favor of a new trial.

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The original lawsuit was filed against Tesla in 2017 in which Diaz had accused the company of turning its back on complaints of racism. An elevator operator, Diaz - according to court filings - said he was subjected to racist abuse and a hostile work environment. He further highlighted that he had complained to his supervisors but that the company failed to take note.

Also Read : Tesla in legal trouble as more employees allege racial abuse

Diaz had also stated that it was not just him but many others of African-American origin who were regularly subjected to racist epithets and derogatory imagery. His son also worked at the plant.

Tesla had attempted to downplay the entire episode once matters were taken through the legal route but was asked to pay a hefty compensation by the jury in the original trial. The jury verdict in the retrial will come as a relief even if it continues to put Tesla in a bad light as far as workplace culture at its Silicon Valley plant is concerned.

(With inputs from AFP)

First Published Date: 04 Apr 2023, 13:34 PM IST
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