SAN FRANCISCO — Fifteen Black former or current employees at Tesla Inc. filed a lawsuit against the electric vehicle maker on Thursday, alleging they were subjected to racial abuse and harassment at its factories.
The workers said they were subjected to offensive racist comments and behavior by colleagues, managers and human resources employees on a regular basis, according to the lawsuit filed in a California state court.
The harassment, which occurred mostly at Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., factory, included using the n-word and such terms as “slavery” or “plantation” or making sexual comments such as “likes booty,” the lawsuit said, adding that the automaker’s “standard operating procedures include blatant, open and unmitigated race discrimination.”
The filing described one plaintiff, Teri Mitchell, as being regularly harassed by co-workers and managers who used racial slurs and made statements including, “It is rare for Blacks to work here. I don’t know how long you will be able to stay here.”
Another plaintiff, Nathaniel Aziel Gonsalves, described harassment by a supervisor. The complaint described the supervisor as saying that “Gonsalves ‘wasn’t like most black people,’ that he ‘didn’t act ghetto,’ and further called him a ‘zebra’ because he was ‘neither black nor white.'”
Some of the plaintiffs were assigned to the most physically demanding posts in Tesla or passed over for promotion, according to the lawsuit.