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Tesla to pay ex-employee $137m in damages over workplace racism

Tesla has been ordered to pay a former employee $137 million over the racist abuse he faced at their Californian plant.

Owen Diaz worked for Elon Musk's firm between June 2015 and May 2016, and recalled being reduced to tears by the nasty remarks he and fellow staff members faced.

Bloomberg reported that Diaz would "sit on the stairs and cry" at times.

In a court filing, the former elevator operator stated that there was a "hostile work environment" at the Fremont factory, and alleged that supervisors did not act on his complaints.

And Diaz claimed both himself, his son who also worked there, and fellow Black workers were often subjected to verbal slurs and insensitive imagery.

It read: "Tesla's progressive image was a facade papering over its regressive, demeaning treatment of African-American employees."

The federal court in San Francisco awarded the sum in punitive damages on Monday (10.04.21), including $6.9 million for emotional distress.

Diaz's attorney, Lawrence Organ of the California Civil Rights Law Group, told the Washington Post of the outcome of the lawsuit: "We're just gratified that the jury saw the truth and they awarded an amount that hopefully will push Tesla to correct what people testified about in terms of this widespread racist conduct.

"It's gratifying to know that a jury's willing to hold Tesla accountable, one of the world's largest, richest corporations finally is told, 'You can't let this kind of thing happen at your factory.'"

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