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Posted under: News Race & Identity

Black Tesla Employees Ban Together, Exposing Company's Alleged Culture Of Racism

“When you really just look at it, you ask yourself at some point, ‘Where is my line?’” said Owen Diaz.

Approximately two dozen Black former and current Tesla employees have spoken out about the racism and discrimination they endured at the car company's factory in Fremont, California.

A damning New York Times report alleged Telsa ignored complaints of racism when brought to the attention of executives. Workers allegedly endured racial harassment in the form of bullying, slurs and taunting. Court documents, interviews and other testimonies describe a culture of racism which prevented Black workers from moving up the corporate ladder.

Former employee Owen Diaz, 50, told The Times he saw multiple swastikas drawn on the bathroom walls during his time at the factory. He worked at the factory as a contractor for 11 months before leaving in 2016.

In one instance, Diaz said fellow workers taunted and called him a racist slur. “You hear, ‘Hey, boy, come here,’ ‘N-i-g-g-e-r,’ you know, all this,” said Diaz. A few hours passed before he discovered a racist drawing on a bale of cardboard boxes.

He texted his manager informing him about the racist effigy he saw. Diaz learned that a supervisor drew the figure as a joke. This revelation was the last straw; he quit shortly after.  

“When you really just look at it, you ask yourself at some point, ‘Where is my line?’” said Diaz.

Diaz and his son, Demetric, took legal action against the company in a 2017 lawsuit. 

Tesla has denied all the allegations. In a statement, the company reassured media that it upholds a respectful, safe working environment.

“Tesla opposes all forms of discrimination, harassment and unfair treatment, and we strive to provide a respectful work environment for all employees and do our best to prevent bad conduct,” the company said in a statement to The Verge.

However, other allegations tell a different story. DeWayne Jones, a former employee, took a complaint to management only for higher-ups to ignore his concerns, reports Ars Technica.

He allegedly "heard a supervisor say of Black employees that 'there’s too many of them in there, they are not Tesla material,' and that he had been at a meeting where a supervisor, gesturing toward African-American workers, remarked that 'monkeys work outside.'"

“What matters most at Tesla is our clear opposition to all forms of discrimination, harassment and unfair treatment,” the company said in its statement. “When we are notified that someone isn’t living up to these standards, we address it immediately, as should be expected of any good company.”

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