A California federal court has ordered Tesla, a US electric car maker, to pay its former black employee nearly $137 million in damages. Owen Diaz claims to have dealt with everyday racial insults at work, and heard the “C-Word” among other things. He also said that workers left racist graffiti and graffiti at the factory.
The Guardian reported that Diaz worked at a factory in Fremont from 2015 to 2016.
On Monday, a jury in San Francisco sided with Diaz. The man received $6.9 million in compensation for his emotional suffering and $130 million in criminal compensation.
“It is wonderful that one of America’s richest companies has to deal with disgusting conditions in its factory facing black workers,” Diaz’s attorney, Lawrence A. Organ, was quoted by The Guardian as saying.
“It took four long years to get to this point,” Diaz told the New York Times.
“Tesla’s progressive image was a front to hide its reactionary and degrading treatment of African Americans,” Diaz’s lawsuit said. His lawyers said that the employers did not stop the racist abuse in the factory.
Tesla issued a statement on Monday. “While we firmly believe that these facts do not support the jury’s verdict in San Francisco, we recognize that we were not perfect in 2015 and 2016. We remain imperfect,” wrote Valerie Capers-Workman, vice president of human resources at Tesla.
In May, a Tesla arbitrator ordered payment of more than $1 million to similar allegations by another former factory worker in Fremont.
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