Tesla has denied claims that its manufacturing plant in Fremont, California is a “hotbed for racist behavior.” The denial comes on the back of a class action lawsuit filed against the electric car manufacturer by Marcus Vaughn. The lawsuit claims that Tesla failed to investigate instances where Vaughn was subject to racial slurs by both fellow workers and managers. Vaughn goes on to claim he was fired after he repeatedly complained about the working conditions. Tesla hit back at the lawsuit and gossip surrounding the case in a blog post titled, "Hotbed of Misinformation.” In the post the company suggests that Vaughn has made a series of false statements, this is despite the fact this most recent lawsuit is among several filed against the company with similar complaints.
Tesla disappointed by workers' conduct
Tesla indicated they are disappointed in the conduct of the workers accused of making the racial slurs but say after investigating the incidents they terminated the contracts of three employees on the grounds of bad behavior. Tesla’s post states, “Our company has more than 33,000 employees, with over 10,000 in the Fremont factory alone, so it is not humanly possible to stop all bad conduct, but we will do our best to make it is as close to zero as possible.” Tesla denies that Vaughn was among the three fired over the incident, they claim instead that Vaughn was hired through a temp company rather than Tesla itself and that his short-term contract wasn’t renewed.
Tesla denies that Vaughn was among the three fired over the incident, they claim instead that Vaughn was hired through a temp company rather than Tesla itself and that his short-term contract wasn’t renewed.
Lawsuits claim racist behavior was not stopped
Tesla has copped flak from people who view the post as a way to downplay the complaints. The Tesla blog post failed to recognize that there were other lawsuits still sitting against the company, filed for similar reasons of harassment and intimidation. In one lawsuit filed last month, three African American workers complained they had been the subject of racial slurs and offensive graffiti at the Fremont plant. Tesla worker, DeWitt Lambert filed a similar lawsuit in May against the company after reportedly being racially abused and subject to ‘lewd behaviour’ at the same plant. Tesla accused the lawyer of the plaintiffs Lawrence Organ of unethical behavior saying “ (Organ) has a long track record of extorting money for meritless claims and using the threat of media attacks and expensive trial costs to get companies to settle.”
These aren’t the only claims against the working conditions at Tesla. In May this year, the Guardian reported that ambulances had been called to the Fremont plant more than 100 times since 2014 to assist workers who had been injured at work. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk responded to the claims conceding that work at the factory was demanding. He added “We’re a money-losing company. This is not some situation where, for example, we are just greedy capitalists who decided to skimp on safety in order to have more profits and dividends and that kind of thing. It’s just a question of how much money we lose. And how do we survive? How do we not die and have everyone lose their jobs?”