Tesla Has Been Ordered To Pay Over $3 Million To A Former Worker For Racist Abuse

A federal jury in San Francisco has ordered Tesla to pay nearly $3.2 million to a former contract worker who experienced racist abuse while working at a company factory in Fremont, California.

Owen Diaz, who is Black, worked as a contracted elevator operator at Tesla’s Fremont plant in 2015 and 2016 and alleged that he was regularly harassed and targeted by racial slurs during his time at the company.

Diaz alleged in a lawsuit that employees put racist graffiti and drawings around the plant, and superiors failed to stop the abuse. The jury ordered Tesla to pay $3 million in punitive damages and $175,000 in non-economic damages to Diaz. This settlement is far less than what Diaz was previously awarded in 2021 when another San Francisco jury ordered Tesla to pay nearly $137 million for subjecting Diaz to racist harassment and a hostile work environment at the Fremont plant.

However, US District Judge William Orrick ruled that the $137 million settlement was excessive and offered Diaz a significantly reduced award of $15 million in damages instead. Diaz rejected the offer and opted for a second trial, which later awarded him the almost $3.2 million settlement.

In closing statements, Diaz’s attorney, Bernard Alexander, asked for nearly $160 million in damages, urging the jury to send a message about holding companies accountable for failing to address discrimination.

According to CNBC, Tesla’s counsel, Alex Spiro, argued that Diaz should be awarded damages that equate to about half of his salary, which would be some tens of thousands of dollars. Spiro also accused Diaz of lying and exaggerating parts of his testimony.

The ruling against Tesla highlights the importance of addressing discrimination and creating a safe work environment for all employees. Diaz’s case serves as a reminder that companies must take appropriate measures to prevent and address any incidents of discrimination in the workplace.

The award of nearly $3.2 million to Diaz sends a message to companies to take these issues seriously and ensure that their employees are treated with respect and dignity.

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