Black worker says Tesla factory was a "hotbed for racist behavior"

According to the lawsuit filed with California's Superior Court, Marcus Vaughn complained in writing to human resources and CEO Elon Musk on April 23 about racial harassment.

Vaughn's legal action, filed in California state court in Oakland on November 13, is at least the third lawsuit filed this year by black workers alleging racial slurs were used against them and that the company ignored their complaints, Reuters reported.

This is the third lawsuit levelled against Tesla this year for alleged racist incidents in California.

Shares of Tesla closed down 2.1 percent on Tuesday afternoon following news of a civil rights lawsuit against the automakers.

Both UAW and Moran denied those claims. Vaughn describes a work environment where he was often called the n-word by supervisors and coworkers. After filing a written complaint with human resources, Vaughn was sacked last month for "not having a positive attitude".

He is seeking unspecified damages under a California anti-discrimination law.

"Although Tesla stands out as a groundbreaking company at the forefront of the electric auto revolution, its standard operating procedure at the Tesla factory is pre-Civil Rights era race discrimination", the employees said in the complaint, that was filed in a California court.

Vaughn then reached out to Larry Organ, an attorney at the California Civil Rights Law Group, after the law firm sued Tesla earlier this year when other former employees complained about racial harassment this year. Those men also said they routinely heard people on the factory floor using racial epithets.

The claims of discrimination made by Vaughn's lawsuit fit into a trend of marginalized tech workers facing harassment on the basis of their identities. The lawsuit also alleges that they were sent racist and violent videos.

'But in this instance, from what we know so far, this does not seem to be such a case'.

Only months after workers at Tesla's Fremont, Calif. auto plant complained about grueling work conditions, the electric vehicle manufacturer is once again at the center of a labor controversy.

The factory houses three product lines: the Model S battery-sedan, the Model X battery-SUV, and the new Model 3.

Other recent lawsuits filed against Tesla include claims that the company failed to give proper notice when laying off hundreds of workers, claims concerning anti-LGTBQ harassment, a complaint from a woman engineer alleging harassment, and a complaint from the National Labour Relations Board defending employee claims that Tesla attempted to suppress a unionization effort.

During the latest earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk informed that the company fired over 700 workers for low performance. At the same facility, United Auto Workers (UAW) launched a campaign encouraging workers to join the union.

Vanessa Coleman

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