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Tesla hit with class-action racial discrimination lawsuit

A former employee is suing Tesla over allegations the automaker allows racist behavior at one of its California factories. The class-action complaint was filed in Alameda County Superior Court on Nov. 13.

According to court documents, the male lead plaintiff was employed at Tesla's Fremont factory. He claims that he was regularly called the n-word by colleagues and supervisors throughout his employment and that the factory practices race discrimination from the "pre-Civil Rights era". He further claims that he notified the automaker's human resources department about his treatment in October and was subsequently terminated. He alleges that Tesla told him he was fired for not having a good attitude. He also claims that Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote an email in May telling employees to be "thick-skinned" when faced with discrimination at the company. The plaintiff filed the lawsuit on behalf of all black workers at the Fremont factory.

In response to the suit, Tesla posted a blog disputing the plaintiff's allegations. The company has previously been sued over alleged ageism, anti-LGBTQ harassment, gender discrimination and wrongful terminations.

Federal law prohibits employers from practicing discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age or disability. However, employees who face racial or other types of workplace discrimination may need to seek the advice of an attorney in order to gain relief. An attorney could carefully review the case and explain how to properly document instances of discrimination. Legal counsel could also help an employee file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In some cases, the EEOC could bring a lawsuit on the employee's behalf while in others, it would give the employee the right to bring a private action.

Source: Mashable, "'Hotbed for racist behavior' -- new Tesla lawsuit alleges aggressive harassment", Emma Hinchlife, Nov. 14, 2017

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