Former Tesla Employee to Receive $137 Million in Damages for Hostile Work Environment, Racism
A San Francisco federal court ordered Tesla to pay a former Tesla worker around $137 million for damages after he experienced racist abuse working for the company.
The former Tesla worker was Owen Diaz.
The jury had granted $130 million in punitive damages and $6.9 million for emotional distress.
The amount was more than attorneys had asked for their client, according to a CNBC report.
Diaz was a former contract worker hired in the vehicle company through a staffing agency in 2015.
Elon Musk currently runs the company as its CEO.
Diaz recounted that he faced a hostile work environment, telling the court that colleagues used epithets to denigrate him and other Black workers.
Other Tesla workers told him to "go back to Africa" and left racist vandalism in the restrooms and other racist drawings in his workspace.
Diaz's Case Against Tesla
Diaz said that he was relieved by the jury's decision, adding that it took four long years to get to this point.
He said that it's like a big weight has been pulled off his shoulders, according to The New York Times report.
Diaz was an elevator operator between the years 2015 and 2016 at the Tesla factory.
He said that aside from co-workers, his supervisor had also referred to him using racial slurs.
Diaz added that employees had drawn swastikas and derogatory pictures of Black children. He said that he reported his complaints, but the company did little to address the behavior.
Diaz said that he had reached a breaking point when his son, who had also secured a job at the company through his help, experienced the same treatment.
He said that his son watched him be broken.
Diaz said in his suit that he was feeling "demeaned, disrespected, and devalued," suing Tesla with his son and another Black former employee.
Meanwhile, it was not immediately clear whether Tesla would appeal the decision, according to a CBS Local report.
Tesla Racism Cases
Tesla previously denied any knowledge of the racist conduct claims at the plant.
Tesla uses mandatory arbitration to push employees to resolve disputes behind closed doors rather than have it done in a public trial.
Elon Musk's company was required to pay $1 million as the result of an arbitration agreement to another former employee, known as Melvin Berry.
Berry had also reported having endured a racist and hostile workplace at Tesla.
In 2017, CNBC reported Marcus Vaugh, another Tesla former employee, had filed a suit. They claim that Tesla had allowed factory workers to use racist slurs and failed to impose corrective action.
Musk had allegedly sent an email to Fremont factory workers addressing the complaints. Musk reportedly told black workers and other minorities that their complaints sometimes happen "unintentionally."
Musk had added that if someone is "a jerk to you" but sincerely apologized, it is important "to be thick-skinned and accept that apology."
Tesla had issued a statement then, saying that the lawsuit was full of false claims.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by Mary Webber
WATCH: Tesla must pay $137 million to ex worker over hostile work environment - from Inside News
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