Tesla will still have to pay a fine in a racism case.
A federal judge said Wednesday that Tesla is liable to a black employee, Owen Diaz, who said the company ignored racial slurs at the plant where he worked by allowing or failing to stop the racism the plaintiff faced.
Diaz, who worked at the factory for nine months in 2015 and 2016, said that other factory employees used racist slurs when talking to him and even scrawled swastikas and insults, including the N-word, on bathroom walls. He also said that one supervisor drew a racist cartoon near his workplace.
The judge ruled that the evidence strongly supported the jury’s conclusion that Telsa was responsible for the “profound” emotional harm inflicted on Diaz and for the “often inadequate” disciplinary actions taken by the company. The judge agreed that Tesla exhibited “startling” indifference to Diaz’s plight.
Not only does the evidence support a finding of recklessness or indifference to Diaz’s health and safety, it supports the conclusion that Tesla intentionally created an employment structure that allowed it to use Diaz’s (and others’) labor to its advantage in an attempt to avoid any obligations and responsibilities that employers owe to employees
It is worth noting that the first decision in favor of the plaintiff was made last year. At that time, the court found Tesla guilty, ordering it to pay Diaz $6.9 million in moral damages and $130 million in punitive damages. However, the new decision dramatically changed these amounts. As a result, the victim was awarded $1.5 million in compensation and Tesla will have to pay only $13.5 million in fines. The plaintiff’s lawyer has already announced that they will appeal the underestimated compensation.