For Immediate Release: November 13, 2017
Larry Organ, Esq. (415) 453-4740
Bryan Schwartz, Esq. (510) 444-9300
Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Tesla, Inc. on Behalf of Current and Former African-American Employees: Rampant Racial Harassment Including Routine Use of Terms “Nigger” and “Nigga” Throughout Tesla’s Fremont Factory
OAKLAND, CA – According to a class action lawsuit filed Monday in Alameda County, standard operating procedure at the futuristic Tesla factory in Fremont, California, is straight from the worst of America’s past: replete with pre-Civil Rights Era-style race discrimination. African-American workers are routinely called “nigger” and “nigga,” and this harassment has only become more widespread since multiple prior individual lawsuits exposed the factory’s racist underbelly.
The suit, filed jointly by two Oakland-based civil rights law firms, California Civil Rights Law Group (CCRLG) and Bryan Schwartz Law, maintains that, despite its knowledge of the harassment, Tesla has done nothing that could be reasonably expected to stop the pattern and practice of racism. Supervisors regularly witness employees engaging in racist name-calling, and engage in such harassment themselves, with no company action to stop them.
The class action states that Tesla’s supervisors, Human Resources and upper management, including CEO Elon Musk, received both verbal and written complaints of race harassment at the Tesla Factory. Typically, though, no action is taken against the harassers, and the harassment continues.
“When one complaint after another is made about racist conduct to supervisors, managers and human resources personnel, yet nothing is done to protect African-American employees at Tesla’s Factory, we have an obligation as civil rights lawyers to protect all workers in the Factory,” said Larry Organ of CCRLG.
“How disappointing for a company that considers itself a leader in the new economy – and its pioneering CEO – headquartered in the most progressive part of America – to be so backward when it comes to civil rights,” said Schwartz. “With this lawsuit, we aim to change how this company treats its black employees,” he added.
The lawsuit was filed in Alameda County Superior Court under Docket No. RG17882082. A copy of the complaint is available here.
About the Plaintiff Marcus Vaughn
Plaintiff Marcus Vaughn began working at the Tesla Factory on April 23, 2017 as a General Assembly Associate. Shortly thereafter, employees and supervisors began targeting him for harassment on the basis of his race, including referring to him as “nigger” and “nigga” on a regular basis. On July 21, 2017, Mr. Vaughn complained in writing to Human Resources and Elon Musk about the hostile work environment. Tesla did not conduct an investigation into Mr. Vaughn’s complaint, nor was he interviewed about his serious allegations of racism at the Tesla Factory. Instead, Tesla terminated Mr. Vaughn on October 31, 2017 for “not having a positive attitude.”
About California Civil Rights Law Group
The California Civil Rights Law Group, led by prominent trial attorney Larry Organ, is dedicated to furthering the cause of employee civil rights throughout the state. The legal team has made it its priority to provide help to those who need it the most, and specializes in representing plaintiffs in matters involving race, sex and disability harassment, discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination.
About Bryan Schwartz Law
Bryan Schwartz Law is dedicated to continuing the struggle for civil rights and equality of employment opportunity and helping Americans from every background to achieve their highest career potential. The firm has recovered tens of millions of dollars in individual, class, and collective actions involving discrimination and retaliation, harassment, denied disability accommodations, whistleblower reprisal, wage and hour violations, Federal employees' rights, and severance negotiations.