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Former Tesla contractor rejects $15 million payout in racial abuse lawsuit

Final yr Owen Diaz, a former contracted elevator operator at Tesla’s Fremont meeting plant, efficiently sued the automaker for making a hostile, racially abusive work surroundings, and was awarded $137 million by the jury. That award was winnowed down to simply $15 million by a decide who gave Diaz two weeks to simply accept or reject the brand new quantity. As reported by Bloomberg, legal professionals for Diaz have taken the latter possibility.

“In rejecting the court docket’s extreme discount by asking for a brand new trial, Mr. Diaz is once more asking a jury of his friends to guage what Tesla did to him and to supply simply compensation for the torrent of racist slurs that was directed at him,” Diaz’s legal professionals in a press release to NBC Information.

The lawsuit, which was initially filed in 2017, described a piece surroundings the place Black staff have been usually subjected to racial slurs and different abuse, with at the very least one supervisor allegedly telling Diaz to “return to Africa” — points which he additionally claims the corporate was negligent in addressing. Tesla has pushed back in opposition to a few of Diaz’s claims, arguing that it took well timed motion to cease the harassment, in addition to claiming these racial slurs have been “utilized in a “pleasant” method and often by African-American colleagues.” It additionally argued that it was not liable for a way Diaz was handled given his standing as a contractor.

Final yr a jury Diaz a complete of $6.9 million of compensatory damages and $130 million of punitive damages, which possible would have amounted to one of many in a company racial discrimination lawsuit. US District Decide William Orrick, in an opinion filed in April, Tesla’s claims that it was not responsible for a contract worker, but in addition slashed the award quantity, calling it “extreme.” He the quantity of compensatory damages to $1.5 million and punitive damages to $13.5 million. Since Diaz’s legal professionals have now rejected the award, the case will proceed to a brand new trial.

The automaker can also be dealing with one other lawsuit filed by the California Division of Truthful Employment and Housing on the behalf of greater than 4,000 former and present Black Tesla staff. In keeping with three former Tesla staff by the Los Angeles Occasions, Black staff on the Fremont facility have been segregated, given probably the most tough duties and topic to extra self-discipline than different staff.

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