According to three employees from Tesla, the American auto making facility has been hostile to black workers on multiple occasions almost as if they were “straight from the Jim Crow era”. After the infamous complaints of sexual harassment against Uber, Tesla becomes the latest company in Silicon Valley to come under legal and public fire for alleged discrimination between its workers.
In its defence, Tesla assured that it took all complaints with utmost seriousness. However, it pressed on the fact that in the company’s history, there had never been a single case of discrimination against the company that had been proven. Not a single one. The workers have been suing the company for being mistreated on Tesla’s facilities, the inaction shown by the company and a few third-party staffing companies it deals with.
In a few instances, the plaintiffs who claimed that they were discriminated against were highly rebuked as they came forward. In one of the cases that stretched on for some time, DeWitt Lambert—an electrician—accused his co-workers of calling him the N-word, while one of the workers threatened to “cut Mr. Lambert up into pieces and send his body parts to his family members.”
Even though Tesla fired a few employees after investigating the case, it pointed out that Lambert often fraternised with the same group of people he was blaming. Not only that, other employees claimed that Lambert, too, had engaged in a similar format of language and banter. He complained to the company in an “attempt to turn the tables.”
Apart from that, Owen Diaz, Lamar Patterson (two Elevator Operators) and Demetric Diaz (a Production Associate) accused co-workers for calling them with racial epithets. In response to that, Tesla pointed out that the 3 aggrieved men did come to the company with their complaints; the company got to know about the lawsuit only via media reports.
According to Organ and Avloni, the lawyers representing the three men as well as Lambert in his lawsuit, they have been receiving an overwhelming number of phone calls from former as well as current employees at Tesla with regards to discrimination they have faced at the work floor.
AJ Vandermeyden, an Engineer at the factory, sued Tesla for gender discrimination and inequality at work place in 2016. Apart from being catcalled and whistled at, she alleged that her male counterparts were given higher salaries and they were promoted before her even though they were less qualified than her.
According to Vandermeyden’s lawyer, she was fired as a response for her lawsuit. Also, her case is in arbitration. In response to that, Tesla pinpoints that Vandermeyden was fired because her claims were proven illegitimate. The company added onto say that Vandermeyden was, in fact, given special treatment that was completely unwarranted provided her qualifications.
Jorge Ferro, an assembly line production worker, was allegedly fired from work after he accused a supervisor of taunting him derisively for his sexuality. The supervisor, apparently, told him that he was gay and his pants were “too tight — gay tight”. Ferro was fired due to an “injury”, which was nothing but a scar he had borne for 16 years.
In response to this, Tesla pointed out that Ferro and the accused supervisor were recruited by a third party. Despite that, Tesla made arrangements to keep the two individuals apart. According to a spokesperson, Tesla had always taken cases of discrimination and harassment with utmost seriousness. In fact, Tesla’s prestigious name is repeatedly misused to gain publicity and media attention