California court approves racial discrimination class action by 6,000 Tesla workers

Tesla employees can now go ahead and sue the company in a class-action lawsuit on the basis of racial discrimination, according to a Californian judge.

The initial plaintiff is Marcus Vaughn, an assembly line employee who dragged Tesla to court in 2017. He alleged that Black workers faced racist treatment, with racial slurs directed at them regularly by fellow workers and supervisors. Vaughn also accused the EV maker of allowing a working condition where racist graffiti and hanging nooses were found on the factory floor.

Judge Noel Wise has now given the nod for a class-action lawsuit covering about 6,000 employees to proceed, Reuters reports. The lawsuit alleged that Tesla failed to adequately prevent racial discrimination suffered by some of its workers. This came after Tesla unsuccessfully tried to handle the matter in-house twice.

Meanwhile, Tesla has stated it does not foster a workplace rife with racial discrimination. It claimed it had fired some staff members found to be engaging in such harassment.

Judge Wise is in charge of another lawsuit against Tesla by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The two trials might hold around the same time if Wise has her way.

In 2022, a former contract worker successfully sued Tesla for racial discrimination. However, the massive $137 million compensation was slashed to $15 million. This was further reduced to $3 million in punitive damages on a retrial.

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