Racism can be a major problem for workers at Tesla according to a new report in the New York Times. The report looked into working conditions at the electric vehicle manufacturer’s factory in Fremont, California. Journalists spoke with over 20 current or former Tesla employees, and black workers repeatedly spoke about incidents of racial discrimination and harassment on the job. Among other issues, the black workers said they had been denied promotions, unfairly assigned to menial tasks, taunted with racist language and witnessed swastikas drawn in bathrooms at the facility.
The stories were collected through interviews as well as legal statements and internal corporate documents. However, the auto manufacturer said that there was no systematic environment of workplace discrimination at the factory. It reiterated its anti-discrimination policy, saying that it aims to create a respectful environment for all workers on the job. The allegations follow a lawsuit by three black former employees at Tesla, who said that they were subjected to racist taunts and drawings from supervisors as well as co-workers. The company said that the plaintiffs did not file internal complaints, but at least one of the former workers said that he did complain without action.
Complainants noted an email sent by former Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk after workers voiced their concerns about racism at the factory. While the email said that people should apologize if they engage in racism unintentionally, it also called on workers who were subject to racial harassment to be “thick-skinned” and accept apologies for racism.
Some of the country’s largest companies can be the site of serious incidents of racial discrimination. Employees who have been subjected to racist harassment or denied advancement due to their race may consult with an employment law attorney. A lawyer may be able to help workers take action to seek justice.