After a racial discrimination lawsuit, a San Francisco jury ordered Tesla to pay a Black former employee nearly $3.2 million.
When the original trial concluded in October 2021, a jury ordered Tesla to pay Owen Diaz $137 million.
The amount was later reduced in accordance with legal standards, but Diaz rejected the judge’s proposed damages amount in favor of a new trial.
According to the court filing, Diaz worked as an elevator operator at the electric vehicle manufacturer’s Fremont, California factory between June 2015 and July 2016, where he was subjected to racist abuse and a hostile work environment.
Diaz claimed in his 2017 lawsuit that African American employees at the factory, where his son also worked, were subjected to racist epithets and derogatory imagery on a regular basis.
The plaintiffs “encountered a scene straight from the Jim Crow era” instead of a modern workplace, according to the suit, which was originally filed by Diaz, his son, and a third former employee.
Diaz claimed that, despite complaints to supervisors, Tesla did nothing about the frequent racist abuse.
Following the suit’s initial verdict, a Tesla human resources vice president downplayed the allegations of racist abuse in the lawsuit while admitting that Tesla “was not perfect” when Diaz worked there.
The company also stated at the time that working conditions had improved since Diaz had worked there.