Jury Says Tesla Should Pay Employee $3.2 Million Over Racist Remedy
A federal jury in San Francisco ordered Tesla on Monday to pay about $3.2 million to a Black man who had accused the carmaker of ignoring racial abuse he confronted whereas working at its California manufacturing facility.
The award was far lower than the $137 million that a different jury awarded two years in the past, largely in punitive damages. The choose in that trial later reduced the figure to $15 million, prompting the plaintiff, Owen Diaz, to problem the quantity in a brand new trial.
However reasonably than more cash, he’ll come away with much less. After a five-day trial, the jury awarded $3 million in punitive damages, and $175,000 in previous and future noneconomic damages.
Mr. Diaz stated he had been subjected to repeated racist offenses whereas working as a contractor at Tesla’s manufacturing facility in Fremont, close to San Francisco, in 2015 and 2016. Whereas there, he stated, a supervisor and different colleagues often used racial slurs, together with in reference to him. Workers additionally wrote racial epithets, and drew symbols and caricatures, across the manufacturing facility, he stated.
Mr. Diaz stated that the offenses had taken an emotional toll on him and that he had introduced them to the corporate’s consideration, however that Tesla had accomplished little to handle them. He stated he had tolerated the hostilities till his son started working on the manufacturing facility and confronted related remedy.
“The prevalence of using the N-word within Tesla’s office is a sign that they didn’t care about how their African American workers felt,” Bernard Alexander, considered one of Mr. Diaz’s legal professionals, stated in a closing argument within the newest trial. “It was a whole affront to each African American contained in the office.”
Tesla’s legal professionals prompt that Mr. Diaz had overstated the impression and extent of the racial harassment he had confronted, encouraging the jury to reduce the harm award.
However the firm’s legal responsibility for having subjected Mr. Diaz to a hostile work setting and having failed to stop racial harassment was not on trial. That had already been “conclusively decided,” Decide William H. Orrick stated in directions supplied to jurors. As a substitute, the jury’s duty was to find out how a lot Mr. Diaz was owed.
Decide Orrick additionally presided over the unique trial.
After the 2021 trial, Tesla’s head of human sources stated the corporate had fired two contractors and suspended one other in response to Mr. Diaz’s complaints. The chief acknowledged that the corporate was “not excellent” in 2015 and 2016, however stated that it had since come a good distance.