A former Tesla employee who launched a racial abuse lawsuit against the electric-car company has been given two weeks to accept a $15 million settlement. On June 7, a federal judge issued an ultimatum to Owen Diaz, according to TechCrunch.
According to Face2Face Africa, a San Francisco judge ordered Tesla Inc. to pay Diaz about $137 million in October last year after he filed a case alleging racial harassment and a hostile working environment at the company’s San Francisco Bay Area factory. Diaz was granted compensatory damages of $6.9 million and punitive damages of $130 million.
However, after Tesla filed an appeal, the award was cut to $15 million, claiming Diaz was only supposed to receive $600,000. Judge William Orrick of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California reduced the compensatory and punitive damages to $1.5 million and $13.5 million, respectively.
According to TechCrunch, Orrick determined on June 7 that he could not show a dominant matter of law to warrant a fast appeal of the lower award. He also stated that he believes the initial amount given to Diaz by the jury was excessive, and that allowing a quick appeal “would further delay settlement of a matter that is already five years old.”
For nine months, Diaz worked as a contract elevator operator at Tesla’s Fremont, California factory. Between 2015 and 2016, that was the case. Diaz claimed he was harassed and subjected to “daily racist epithets” while at the facility, according to the lawsuit. Employees at the plant, according to Diaz, used racist slurs, including the “N-word.”
Employees allegedly drew swastikas and racist graffiti on corporate property, according to Diaz, who also claimed that superiors did not make an effort to stop the abuse. “Tesla’s progressive image was a ruse to hide its regressive, humiliating treatment of African-American employees,” according to the lawsuit.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has also filed a lawsuit against Tesla (DFEH). The DFEH claims that the firm has been racist and harassing its Black Fremont production workers. Tesla, on the other hand, filed a lawsuit against the DFEH in April, arguing that the department was overstepping its legal boundaries by prosecuting them, according to Tech Crunch.