Department spokesperson Fahizah Alim declined to confirm or comment on the expected lawsuit. If filed, the lawsuit would be the latest in a series of allegations of racism in Tesla’s workplace.
A former Tesla employee, Owen Diaz, was awarded $136.9 million last year when a jury concluded he was subject to a racially hostile workplace. Other lawsuits have alleged a toxic culture. Last week Kaylen Barker, a Black woman who worked at a Tesla manufacturing plant, filed a lawsuit claiming the automaker tolerates “rampant acts of racism” in its factories. Barker’s lawsuit focuses on her employment at Tesla in 2021.
Tesla said the anticipated lawsuit from the California DFEH appears to focus on incidents between 2015 and 2019. It called the expected lawsuit “misguided” and objected to the potential claims.
“Tesla strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment,” the blog post said. “Tesla continues to seek to provide a workplace that is safe, respectful, fair, and inclusive-—all of which are vital to achieving our mission.”
Tesla also claimed that the department had been investigating Tesla in the past three years regarding discrimination and harassment and never found misconduct previously.
“It therefore strains credibility for the agency to now allege, after a three-year investigation, that systematic racial discrimination and harassment somehow existed at Tesla,” the blog post said.
Tesla said it plans to ask the court to pause the lawsuit, once it is filed.