Tesla responded to a recent lawsuit alleging racist behavior at its Freemont factory with a lengthy blog post called “Hotbed of Misinformation”.
Last Monday, an ex-Tesla worker named Marcus Vaughn filed a lawsuit against them, claiming that he and more than 100 African-American Tesla workers were subjected to racist behavior, with slurs being used to address them by supervisors and co-workers, with the company ignoring them despite their complaints. Vaughn also claims that he was fired from the company for “not having a positive attitude”.
In its response, Tesla acknowledged that several African-American and Hispanic individuals made use of racial language, including the “n-word” and “w-word” towards each other after investigating a group of people who worked on or near Vaughn’s team. The investigation resulted in the firing of three people.
“Several months ago we had already investigated disappointing behavior involving a group of individuals who worked on or near Marcus Vaughn’s team. At the time, our investigation identified a number of conflicting accusations and counter-accusations between several African-American and Hispanic individuals, alleging use of racial language, including the "n-word" and "w-word," towards each other and a threat of violence. After a thorough investigation, immediate action was taken, which included terminating the employment of three of the individuals.”
“We believe this was the fair and just response to the facts that we learned. There will be further action as necessary, including parting ways with anyone whose behavior prevents Tesla from being a great place to work and making sure we do everything possible to stop bad behavior from happening in the first place. Our company has more than 33,000 employees, with over 10,000 in the Fremont factory alone, so it is not humanly possible to stop all bad conduct, but we will do our best to make it is as close to zero as possible.”
Tesla also claims that there are a number of false statements in the class action lawsuit filed against them.
- There is only one actual plaintiff (Marcus Vaughn), not 100. The reference to 100 is a complete fabrication with no basis in fact at all.
- The plaintiff was employed by a temp agency, not by Tesla as claimed in the lawsuit.
- Marcus was not fired, he was on a six month temp contract that simply ended as contracted.
- His email to Elon was about his commute and Tesla’s shuttles, which was addressed as he requested. There was no mention of racial discrimination whatsoever.
- The trial lawyer who filed this lawsuit has a long track record of extorting money for meritless claims and using the threat of media attacks and expensive trial costs to get companies to settle. At Tesla, we would rather pay ten times the settlement demand in legal fees and fight to the ends of the Earth than give in to extortion and allow this abuse of the legal system.
Finally the company included Elon Musk’s full email sent to workers on May 31 in a bid to clear things up.