The Chronicle

Musk’s Tesla told to pay $188m over racist abuse

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SAN FRANCISCO: A California verdict ordering billionair­e Elon Musk’s Tesla to pay a black former employee $US137m ($188m) in damages for turning a blind eye to racism the man encountere­d at its Silicon Valley car plant is a resounding warning to corporate America, his lawyer has claimed.

“They awarded an amount that could be a wake-up call for American corporatio­ns,” civil rights lawyer Larry Organ said.

“The message is don’t engage in racist conduct, and don’t allow racist conduct to continue.”

Owen Diaz was hired through a staffing agency as an elevator operator at the electric vehiclemak­er’s Fremont factory between June 2015 and July 2016, where he was subjected to racist abuse and a hostile work environmen­t, according to the court filing.

In his lawsuit, filed in 2017, Mr Diaz said African-American employees at the factory – where his son also worked and was also abused – were regularly subjected to racist and demeaning attacks.

“Tesla’s progressiv­e image was a facade papering over its regressive, demeaning treatment of African-American employees,” the court filing read.

Mr Diaz said that despite complaints to supervisor­s, Tesla took no action to stop the vile abuse.

After the verdict, Tesla downplayed the allegation­s but agreed that at the time Mr Diaz worked there the firm “was not perfect”.

 ?? ?? Tesla founder and owner Elon Musk.
Tesla founder and owner Elon Musk.

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