Washington, DC CNN Business  — 

Kaylen Barker, a Black woman who worked at a Tesla manufacturing plant, filed a lawsuit this week in California claiming that the automaker tolerates “rampant acts of racism” in its factories.

Barker’s lawsuit describes a series of escalating racist encounters in 2021 that the automaker allegedly ignored until a coworker threw a “hot tool” at her while calling her a racial slur and using derogatory language. The encounter left Barker with a bruise and she continues to suffer “emotional distress, humiliation, shame and embarrassment,” according to the lawsuit.

The offending employee was then fired, but rehired approximately two weeks later, according to the lawsuit. Barker worked at a Tesla factory in Lathrop, California, the lawsuit says.

“Being a Black worker at a [sic] Tesla’s renowned California factory, is to be forced to step back in time and suffer painful abuses reminiscent of the Jim Crow era,” the lawsuit states.

Barker’s lawsuit, which was filed in the Superior Court of California, alleges that she was subject to abuse following her promotion to supervise colleagues who worked on brakes for Tesla vehicles.

The lawsuit says that an employee said that a “Black girl” should not have been promoted over her, and that Barker “is Black and doesn’t know anything.”

Barker, 25, told Tesla’s Human Resources department “and/or” her supervisor following each racist encounter, but Barker was never notified of any corrective action being taken, until the incident with the hot tool, according to the lawsuit.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

The automaker has had allegations of issues with racism in its workplace previously.

Owen Diaz, a former Tesla employee, was awarded $136.9 million in damages last year after a jury concluded he was subject to a racially hostile workplace. Other Tesla employees have filed lawsuits in recent years alleging a toxic culture in its manufacturing workplace.

Tesla was critical of the verdict in Diaz’s case.

“While we strongly believe that these facts don’t justify the verdict reached by the jury in San Francisco, we do recognize that in 2015 and 2016 we were not perfect,” Valerie Capers Workman, Tesla’s then-Vice President of people said in a blog post. “We’re still not perfect. But we have come a long way from 5 years ago.” 

Workman, who exited Tesla last month, according to her LinkedIn profile, published Tesla’s first diversity, equity and inclusion report in 2020.

Black and African American employees are 10% of Tesla’s US workforce, according to the 2020 report, and women represent 21% of its US workforce. Women make up 17% of leadership in its US workforce.

Tesla is not the only automaker where employees have reported facing racism in a manufacturing plant.

A 2018 lawsuit filed against General Motors described nooses being hung and “whites-only” written on a bathroom. GM said at the time that discrimination and harassment are not acceptable, and it treats any reported incident with sensitivity and urgency. Ford has also faced lawsuits alleging racism. Ford has said it does not tolerate discrimination and takes claims seriously.