A San Francisco federal court has pronounced judgement that Tesla should pay a former worker, Owen Diaz, around $137 million for being made to persevere racism maltreatment while working for the organization.

The jury granted more than Diaz’ lawyers requested, including $130 million for punitive harms and $6.9 million for emotional stress.

Diaz, who was employed at Elon Musk’s electric vehicle organization through a staffing agency in 2015, faced an unfriendly workplace atmosphere in which, he told the court, associates utilized appellations to stigmatize him and other Black workers, told him to “return to Africa” and left racist graffiti in the restrooms and a racist drawing in his work area.

According to Diaz’s attorneys, the case was only able to move forward because the worker had not signed one of Tesla’s mandatory arbitration agreements which is used to compel employees to resolve disputes behind closed doors rather than via
public trial.

Three other witnesses testified at the trial that they regularly heard racial slurs, including the n-word on the Fremont factory floor. While they all agreed that the use of the n-word was not appropriate in the workplace, they also agreed that most of the time they thought the language was used in a ‘friendly’ manner and usually by African-American colleagues.
Tesla was also required to pay $1million to another former worker, Melvin Berry who also endured a racist and hostile workplace at Tesla.

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