Black Workers Allege Racism at Tesla’s California Factory

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Tesla may face a class-action lawsuit after 240 black factory workers described racism and discrimination at Tesla’s San Francisco Bay Area plant, including the use of racial slurs and references to the manufacturing site as a plantation or slave ship. It is estimated that at least 6,000 workers could be part of the class.

Testimonies of the Factory Workers

The individual testimonies, which come from employees and contractors who worked on the factory production floor between 2016 to the present, were filed last Monday, June 5 in the Alameda County Superior Court. The testimonies are part of a lawsuit brought by worker Marcus Vaughn in 2017, who issued a written complaint to human resources and to CEO Elon Musk of a hostile work environment in which he was called slurs by co-workers and supervisors. No investigation into the matter was conducted and Vaughn was allegedly fired for “not having a positive attitude”.

According to a statement summarizing the workers’ statements, all the declarants said they had heard the use of a particular racial slur, with more than half stating they had heard supervisors and managers using the slur. Several workers said they experienced or saw other black workers tasked with more physically laborious work and disciplined more frequently.

Tesla has sought to force the lawsuit into arbitration. However, in April of this year, the California Supreme Court allowed black workers to seek a public injunction in court that would require Tesla to make changes to its work environment.

MNK Law will continue to monitor developments with respect to the lawsuit against Tesla. For more information on hostile work environments and workplace discrimination under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, please contact us at

This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between MNK Law and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.