Owen Diaz alleged that he and other Black employees were told to "go back to Africa" and would endure being called racial slurs while on the job.
The company was under fire over allegations of racism, and now, a former employee is over $100 million richer. Back in August, Melvin Berry, a former worker, was awarded $1 million for the racism he allegedly endured while working for Tesla, and this week, the news was shared that Owen Diaz also scored a win against the company.
According to reports, Diaz was a contract worker for Tesla and was hired back in 2015, but he claimed that he battled being called racial slurs and fought through a hostile work environment.
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During a jury trial, Diaz reportedly testified that he, along with other Black Tesla employees, regularly faced discriminatory remarks from their colleagues, were told to "go back to Africa," and would often find racist language graffitied in the company restrooms.
A report by CNBC stated that Diaz received much more than he asked for as the jury awarded him "$130 million in punitive damages and $6.9 million for emotional distress... A pending class-action lawsuit in Alameda County in California — Vaughn v. Tesla Inc. — also alleges that Tesla is rife with racist discrimination and harassment."
“We were able to put the jury in the shoes of our client,” said Diaz's attorney J. Bernard Alexander. “When Tesla came to court and tried to say they were zero tolerance and they were fulfilling their duty? The jury was just offended by that because it was actually zero responsibility.”
Tesla issued a lengthy statement regarding the verdict and what witnesses testified to, and their reaction has been quite controversial. You can read through that here.