In the latest case of workplace discrimination, a recent lawsuit filed by three former black Tesla contractors alleges that they faced repeated racial harassment and discrimination while at work, the LA Times reports.
Demetric Di-az, Owen Diaz and Lamar Patterson claim to be the victims of “racially motivated abuse, including the frequent use of racial slurs” while working at Tesla's Fremont, California factory.
Their lawsuit alleges that Tesla employees would leave caricatures and images mocking black people for black workers, and they often suffered being told things like, “Go back to Africa. We don’t want you here.”
Diaz and Patterson ended up quitting their jobs because they could no longer withstand the “abusive and racially harassing treatment.”
A different fate awaited Di-az. He says that he tried to bring the racist behavior to his supervisor's attention. Instead of those hurling insults being reprimanded, Di-az says that he was written up for being on his phone on the factory floor.
Days later, Di-az was fired for "breaking the rules." He says that other employees who were given the same written warning he was are still employed at the facility.
All three plaintiffs claim that they tried to go both to Tesla supervisors and to their respective staffing agencies about the problem, but say that no one would come to their aid.
The staffing agencies that hired the three black contractors, Citistaff and Chartwell, have not yet commented on the allegations, claiming that they've yet to receive a copy of the lawsuit.
A Tesla spokesperson said the company had no idea that Diaz, Di-az and Patterson were having any problems until the media contacted the electric car maker about the lawsuit. It released a statement that claims the company takes “any and every form of discrimination or harassment extremely seriously.”
The company also said that it doesn't think it did anything wrong.
"In situations where Tesla is at fault, we will never seek to avoid responsibility,” said the spokesperson. “But in this instance, from what we know so far, this does not seem to be such a case.”
Tesla also said that it has just launched an anti-discrimination and harassment training program as well as an investigative team for workplace concerns. However, it further said that these measures will only go so far to tackle discrimination.
“We will never be able to stop every single person in the factory from engaging in inappropriate conduct, but we will continue to do everything that we can to encourage the right behavior and to take action whenever something bad happens."