As Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently pursued a takeover of social media giant Twitter, his electric car manufacturing company faced more allegations of tolerating a racist workplace environment.
A Black woman who worked at Tesla’s Fremont, Calif. plant filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court on April 22 alleging that the company largely ignored her complaints about widespread racism at the facility, the San Jose Mercury News reports. It’s the latest of several similar lawsuits.
Raina Pierce alleges that a racist work environment was condoned at the Fremont facility, where managers would sometimes greet employees with “Welcome to the plantation” or “Welcome to the slave house.”
The lawsuit claims that Pierce’s supervisors referred to her using the N-word. Also, a supervisor who accused her of getting him in trouble allegedly made a vulgar comment about not being able to stand Black people.
In May 2021, Pierce reported the alleged harassment and discrimination to Tesla’s human resources department, according to the suit.
Tesla did not immediately respond to Mercury News’ request for comment.
The company’s history with racial harassment lawsuits includes a federal jury awarding former Tesla worker Owen Diaz almost $137 million for experiencing “daily racist epithets” in the workplace. A federal district judge, however, reduced the award in April to $15 million.
Tesla was also ordered to pay $1 million to former employee Melvin Berry who said he was called the N-word by his supervisor. There are other similar lawsuits working their way through the court system.
State officials have also accused Tesla of racism. California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing in February filed a lawsuit against the company, according to Mercury News. It alleges that Tesla’s Fremont facility paid Black workers less than white workers. Black employees were also denied advancements and faced daily racist abuse, the suit claims.