March 19, 2024

Tesla Settles Racism Lawsuit With Former Worker After $3.2M Verdict

Tesla has settled a racial discrimination lawsuit with former employee Owen Diaz after a protracted legal battle. 

After filing a lawsuit in 2017, Diaz was awarded a staggering $137 million in 2022. However, US District Court Judge William Orrick reduced this to $15 million and then to $3.2 million. 

The settlement terms remain confidential but mark the end of a lawsuit that revealed disturbing practices within Tesla’s Fremont factory.

Diaz vs. Tesla

Diaz, who worked as a freight elevator operator for less than a year starting in June 2015, encountered severe racial abuse, including the use of the N-word and other slurs. 

The abuse wasn’t limited to coworkers; supervisors were also complicit, contributing to an environment Judge Orrick described as “saturated with racism.”

Tesla’s defense argued that Tesla had enforced policies against such conduct and had taken action on reported incidents.

However, the court’s decision and subsequent settlement suggest a different reality. 

Tesla’s racism lawsuits

This case isn’t isolated; Tesla faces other lawsuits, including one from the California Civil Rights Department and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, over similar allegations.

Lawrence Organ, Diaz’s attorney from the California Civil Rights Law Group, praised Diaz’s courage in facing a giant like Tesla. 

Organ’s firm also represents thousands of Black workers in a class action alleging discrimination and harassment at Tesla’s Fremont factory.

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.