AUSTIN, Texas — Austin-based electric car maker Tesla is facing yet another lawsuit, this time alleging a "toxic workplace culture grounded in racist and sexist abuse and discrimination against its own employees."
The lawsuit was filed Thursday by Tesla stockholder Solomon Chau of New Jersey. It also comes after the company has been hit with numerous complaints from former employees claiming reports of sexual harassment and racist abuse.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas Austin Division, the suit claims California officials conducted a 3-year long investigation into workplace harassment and discrimination at the company, finding evidence that a factory in Fremont was racially segregated and that Black workers were subjected to racial slurs and discrimination.
It also cites a recent uptick in lawsuits and regulatory scrutiny regarding its treatment of employees amid an ongoing investigation.
"Equally troubling is Tesla's apparent refusal to cooperate with regulators by failing to produce complete and accurate employment and personnel records despite being required to do so by law," the suit states.
It also claims that CEO Elon Musk has directly advised Tesla employees to be "thick-skinned" when it comes to workplace harassment.
"Through the same channels he has used to announce Tesla products, relay corporate changes to the public, and comment on the financial status of the Company, defendant E. Musk has also made numerous sexually objectifying statements that multiple complainants have cited as direct influences on the culture of harassment they endured at Tesla," the suit continues. "Critically, it also appears from the Company's production of the Section 220 Documents that, even when presented with widespread claims of sexual harassment and racial discrimination at its manufacturing facilities, the Board itself did little to address the misconduct."
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