Tesla settles long-running racial discrimination court battle with former worker


Owen Diaz’s lengthy court battle against Tesla is officially over, now that both parties have agreed on a settlement. Attorney Lawrence Organ, Diaz’s lawyer, told CNBC that that the “parties have reached an amicable resolution of their disputes,” but that the “terms of the settlement are confidential.” If you’ve been following this case for a while now, that means you won’t get to find out how much Diaz is getting after the massive $137 million in damages he was originally awarded got dramatically lowered to $3.2 million.

The former elevator operator famously sued the automaker for enabling a racist workplace, saying that he faced discrimination “straight from the Jim Crow era” as a Black individual. He said his fellow workers left left drawings of swastika and racist graffiti, such as ones of Inki the Caveman, on his workspace and around Tesla’s Fremont assembly plant. Diaz also said that he and other Black workers were subjected to racial slurs, and that the company failed to address thes behaviors despite repeated complaints.

In 2021, a San Francisco court ordered Tesla to pay $137 million in damages to its former worker, which was one of the highest amounts awarded to a plaintiff suing on the basis of discrimination. However, a judge during the appeals that followed found the amount excessive and lowered it to $15 million, even though he upheld the original jury’s verdict. The parties went back into trial after Diaz refused the lowered amount, but a jury lowered the damages Tesla must pay even further to $3.2 million. At the time, Diaz’s lawyer said he was wrongly attacked by the defense and that they had already requested a new trial due to misconduct. It looks like both parties have since agreed to negotiate behind closed doors.

While Diaz’s case is done, Organ also represents Marcus Vaughn, who filed another lawsuit against the automaker for racial harassment. Vaughn called Tesla’s Fremont plant a “hotbed for racist behavior” and petitioned the court last year to give his lawsuit class action status so that he could add 240 Black colleagues to his complaint.

This article contains affiliate links; if you click such a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission.



Source link