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California sues Tesla over racial taunts, discrimination at SF Bay Area factory

Tesla said that it "strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment."

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California sues Tesla over racial taunts, discrimination at SF Bay Area factory
Tesla's factory in Fremont, Calif., is seen on May 10, 2020. The lawsuit filed Wednesday says that managers and supervisors at the facility regularly made discriminatory remarks toward Black workers. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 10 (UPI) -- California authorities have filed a discrimination lawsuit against electric automaker Tesla that accuses the company of de facto racial segregation at a factory in the San Francisco Bay Area, officials said.

The suit, filed by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing on Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court, is based on complaints from hundreds of workers.

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The department says in the complaint that it found evidence that the Tesla factory in Fremont is a racially segregated workplace where Black workers are subjected to racial slurs and discrimination in job assignments, pay and promotions, thus creating a "hostile work environment."

The lawsuit says that many of the racial remarks are made by managers and supervisors at the plant, which is located 30 miles southeast of downtown San Francisco.

"A common narrative was Black and/or African American workers being taunted by racial slurs and then baited into verbal and physical confrontations, where they, in turn, were the ones disciplined for being purportedly 'aggressive' or 'threatening,'" the suit states, according to The Washington Post.

Last fall, several women also sued Tesla over conditions at the Fremont plant -- and another accused the company of "rampant sexual harassment" and "nightmarish conditions." File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
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In a blog post on Wednesday, Tesla called the lawsuit "misguided."

"The lawsuit appears focused on alleged misconduct by production associates at the Fremont factory that took place between 2015 and 2019," Tesla wrote in the post.

RELATED Former Tesla contract worker awarded $137M for racial discrimination

"Tesla strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment and has a dedicated Employee Relations team that responds to and investigates all complaints."

Tesla also said that it will ask the court to pause the case and take other steps to ensure that the facts and evidence will be heard.

"Despite repeated requests, the [department] has declined to provide Tesla with the specific allegations or the factual bases for its lawsuit," the company wrote.

Last fall, several women also sued Tesla over conditions at the Fremont plant -- and another accused the company of "rampant sexual harassment" and "nightmarish conditions." In October, a federal jury awarded $137 million to a former Black worker who also said he encountered significant racial discrimination at the Fremont plant.

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