Owen Diaz, a former contracted elevator operator at Tesla was awarded $137 million dollars in an anti discrimination lawsuit against the company.
Mr. Diaz was among a few blacks that endured a hostile work environment and constant humiliation at the Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California from 2015 to 2016.
Some of the complaints were – often been told to “go back to Africa”, called nigger, other company employees drew racist and derogatory pictures that were left around the factory.
Mr. Diaz filed complaints about these matters fell on deaf ears.
A jury awarded Mr. Diaz the 137 million dollars yesterday. Following the verdict, his attorney Larry Organ said “I’m gratified that the jury saw the truth and that they sent a message to Tesla to clean up its workplace”.
The breakdown of the award is as follows – $130 million in punitive damages and $6.9 million in emotional damages.
Tesla’s vice President of people Ms. Valerie Capers Workman said the company has made great progress and that she disagreed with the verdict stating, “While we strongly believe that these facts don’t justify the verdict reached by the jury in San Francisco, we do recognize that in 2015 and 2016, we were not perfect. We’re still not perfect. But we have come a long way from 5 years ago,”.
Tesla is a multi billion dollar company that manufactures electric vehicles with a current market capitalization of around $574 billion.
The company founder and CEO is Elon Musk; the richest person on earth at $201 billion dollars in networth.
This verdict will reverberate across the the US corporate world and likely to have some impact on corporate culture because of potential hostile work place liabilities.