"Tesla fails in bid to push racism lawsuit into arbitration"
Business Breaking News, June 4, 2018
By Ethan Baron
A judge shot down Tesla’s attempt to force into arbitration a class-action lawsuit claiming the company allowed “severe and pervasive” racism against black workers at its Fremont factory. The lawsuit was filed in November by former employee Marcus Vaughn. It alleged that the Palo Alto electric car maker led by CEO Elon Musk “created an intimidating, hostile, and offensive work environment for African-American employees” where two variations of the n-word were routinely used. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest developments in the lawsuit. The firm had sought to move the case from court into private dispute resolution, in accordance with an arbitration agreement it argued applied to Vaughn. Vaughn filed the suit on behalf of himself and all other black workers on the Fremont factory floor from Nov. 9, 2016 to the present. Now, a state Superior Court judge has ruled that because Vaughn never signed a letter offering him a permanent job and containing an arbitration agreement, he’s not bound by any such agreement. “Generally speaking, one must be a party to an arbitration agreement to be bound by it or invoke it,” Judge Robert McGuiness of Alameda County Superior Court said in his ruling Friday.