March 5, 2024

Judge Approves Racism Class Action Lawsuit For 6,000 Black Tesla Workers

Elon Musk

Tesla Inc. is currently involved in a significant lawsuit involving nearly 6,000 Black employees from its California factory. 

The group, alleging rampant racism at Tesla’s Fremont plant, received tentative approval from Judge Noël Wise of Alameda County Superior Court to proceed with their class-action lawsuit. 

This development underscores a continuing struggle with racial discrimination allegations for the renowned electric vehicle manufacturer.

A ‘hotbed’ of racism

The lawsuit, initiated in 2017 by Tesla employee Marcus Vaughn, claims the factory’s production floor was a “hotbed of racist behavior,” with racial slurs routinely used by co-workers and supervisors.

Furthermore, Vaughn contends that complaints to human resources were largely ignored. 

Tesla, in response, denied any wrongdoing in a blog post titled “Hotbed of Misinformation” and stated that three employees were dismissed after investigating the alleged incidents.

In June 2023, almost 240 other Black former employees and contractors filed sworn statements recounting instances of offensive language and discrimination in the workplace.

In some instances, Black employees reported being advised to ignore their experiences of mistreatment.

Class action status

Last week, Wise tentatively approved the lawsuit’s class-action status. This means that the nearly 6,000 Black people who worked at the Fremont factory from November 2016 could sue Tesla.

A request for class certification was denied for all people not on the class members list. However, Ars Technica reports that plaintiffs will have five days to provide an updated list of class members.

The class action trial is scheduled to begin on October 14, 2024. This is the same day as a separate but similar suit against Tesla by the California Civil Rights Department (CRD).

Tesla is currently also facing federal racial discrimination lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and is appealing a $3.2 million jury verdict awarded to a Black former Tesla contractor Owen Diaz.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.