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Tesla pays former Bay Area worker $1M after bosses repeatedly used racial slurs

Tesla pays former Bay Area worker $1M after bosses repeatedly used racial slurs


A Black man who formerly worked at Tesla’s Fremont plant will be paid over $1 million by the company due to repeated use of racial slurs by supervisors.



a sign on the side of a building: In this file photo the Tesla logo is seen outside of their showroom in Washington, DC, on August 8, 2018.


© Saul Loeb, AFP Via Getty Images

In this file photo the Tesla logo is seen outside of their showroom in Washington, DC, on August 8, 2018.


A Northern California arbitrator ruled that the company ignored “commonplace” incidents of hate at the company — such as swastikas graffitied in the factory and the frequent use of an anti-Black slur, including by former employee Melvin Berry’s supervisors.

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Workers also took to calling the Fremont plant “the plantation,” according to Bloomberg.

Reported the news outlet, Berry alleges that a supervisor called him the “n-word” and was punished after confronting his boss, made to work longer hours and push a heavier cart.” The same supervisor, at one point, also wrote a warning letter to Berry for “slacking off.”

Elaine Rushing, the arbitrator involved, ruled in May that even one incident of a worker being called a racist slur is “severe harassment.”

“This is a case of a 23-year-old White man with only a high-school education supervising a 43-year-old African-American man with a college degree, a classic invitation for serious resentment,” Rushing wrote in her ruling, reported Bloomberg.

Tesla fought back against the allegations, reported Bloomberg, claiming that he left voluntarily and only suffered “garden variety” emotional distress.

But Berry said that the retaliation he endured resulted in panic attacks, depression and anxiety.

Tesla cannot respond to any request for comment from SFGATE, as its public relations department was dissolved last year.

“I hope the world knows that an arbitrator found Tesla treats its employees like this,” Berry told Bloomberg.

Read the full Bloomberg report here.

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