Tesla Workers Claim Racial Bias and Abuse at Electric Car Factory


A discrimination lawsuit filed by former factory workers will test the legal rights of contractors.


Josh Eidelson


Owen Diaz, right, and his son Demetric in Oakland, California, on April 10.

Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg

On a fall evening in 2015, Owen Diaz went to drop off food for his 20-year-old son Demetric, whom he’d helped find a job at the same Tesla Inc. factory where Owen operated elevators. As he turned the corner, the two African-American men allege in a lawsuit, Owen saw Demetric’s supervisor condemning his black subordinates with curses and slurs: “All you f-cking n-ggers,” they heard him say. “I can’t stand you motherf-ckers.”

“It made me feel like I was less than a man,” said Owen Diaz. “I couldn’t do anything.” In the end, he is doing something: the two are suing Tesla, along with contracting firms West Valley Staffing Group and Citistaff Solutions, alleging a pattern of racial harassment and hostility.

All three deny the allegations. But unlike other former Tesla workers’ allegations of race and sex discrimination, the electric car giant hasn’t been able to keep this one out of court. As contract workers, Owen and Demetric weren’t required, as many direct Tesla employees are, to settle any disputes through binding arbitration. Their case has entered discovery, with depositions scheduled to start later this month. A federal trial is scheduled to start in 2019.

Whether it gets to trial or not, the process threatens to bring unwanted scrutiny and unwelcome disclosures about Tesla’s culture, and the treatment of sub-contracted staff who play key roles in the attempt to meet Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk’s ambitious production goals.

The company said in an emailed statement that it takes discrimination and harassment of all forms “extremely seriously,” has a dedicated team focused on investigating and addressing workplace concerns, and requires online anti-discrimination and harassment training for all employees: “We will never be able to stop every single person in the factory from engaging in inappropriate conduct, but we will continue to do everything that we can to encourage the right behavior and to take action whenever something bad happens."

In the Diaz lawsuit, both men say they were regularly subject to racist epithets by co-workers and supervisors. Along with slurs, Owen says co-workers told him to “go back to Africa” and drew racist caricatures in bathroom stalls and on bales of cardboard—images of dark-skinned figures with bones in their hair and big lips, captioned with the word “Booo!” He’s kept a photo of one.

A copy of a picture from the Tesla plant depicting a racially insensitive drawing.

Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg

When Owen confronted a supervisor about the drawings, they allege, he replied, “We’re just playing, why do you people take things so hard?” Ultimately, they charge, their complaints about discrimination were ignored or rebuffed, until they caused West Valley to terminate Demetric and Citistaff to demote Owen, who then quit.

While neither Owen nor Demetric ever got a paycheck directly from Tesla, they’re suing Musk’s firm as a “joint employer”—a company that exercises enough control over a group of workers that it shares legal responsibility when they’re mistreated. In a November court filing, Tesla denied the allegations. As to joint employer status, Tesla believes that with few exceptions, it’s unfair to hold a company responsible for another company’s actions, a spokesperson said.

Contract employees have become increasingly common, but the responsibility of the client is still unsettled. During the Obama administration, the National Labor Relations Board made it easier to treatcompanies as joint employers; the precedent is facing a challenge in federal court. The U.S. House of Representatives also passed a bill that would reverse the Obama precedent. The legislation hasn’t progressed in the Senate.

Workers say Tesla exemplifies the trend, making ample use of sub-contracted staff in a wide range of roles at the Fremont factory, which is currently racing to accelerate production of its all-electric Model 3. Chartwell Staffing Solutions is currently advertising for 106 assembly line workers at a “manufacturing company” with a “busy facility in Fremont, Calif.” A Tesla spokesperson said it’s common for firms to add temporary workers during busy periods, and Tesla temps get safety training, access to break areas and free snacks, just like direct hires.

If the court holds Tesla accountable as a joint employer, it “would have a major impact on the behavior of other similarly-situated businesses,” said David Weil, the dean of the school of social policy and management at Brandeis University. “Companies like Tesla will insist on those workers meeting their standards and their quality levels but on the other hand shirk the traditional responsibilities of having a person who does all that work.”

Being contract employees may actually be what gives the Diaz lawsuit a public hearing. Like a growing number of companies, Tesla uses employment contracts that require workers to resolve disputes through arbitration. The automaker has invoked such agreements in a series of recent worker discrimination disputes, pulling them out of the public eye. Business groups say arbitration is swift and efficient for everyone, but labor advocates argue it’s a secretive process and biased against workers.

Such agreements may be about to become even more widespread and easier to enforce. By June, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in a case that could shut down efforts by the federal labor board to reign in arbitration agreements that prevent class action suits.

While Owen and Demetric say they have no arbitration agreement with Tesla, the company’s attorneys have offered several defenses against their claims, including that the men allegedly failed to avail themselves of the company’s channels for addressing discrimination, that Tesla was unaware of any wrongdoing by staff, and that any actions the company took against the plaintiffs had valid justifications.

In its emailed statement, the company also said the plaintiffs “were at Tesla for only a short time and have been gone for well over a year” and that the only “relevant evidence” the company had found so far was an email in which Owen Diaz complained about a co-worker’s alleged yelling and aggressive comments but not racism.

Tesla accused the plaintiffs’ attorney Larry Organ of mounting “a carefully planned media blitz in an attempt to create a disingenuous narrative,” a common theme for the car company. In November, after Organ filed a putative class action alleging a “hotbed of discrimination” at Tesla, the automaker responded with a blog post titled “Hotbed of Misinformation.” The company attacked Organ directly, saying he “has a long track record of extorting money for meritless claims and using the threat of media attacks and expensive trial costs to get companies to settle. At Tesla, we would rather pay ten times the settlement demand in legal fees and fight to the ends of the Earth than give in to extortion and allow this abuse of the legal system.”

In response, Organ says he considers Tesla’s attack a “badge of honor,” given the company’s conduct as described in the suit.

Owen Diaz and his son Demetric say they were never out to get Tesla, a company they were both thrilled to work for and whose fossil-free vision they enthusiastically support. “I brought my son—I told him it was a good job,” Owen said. “To me, that’s probably one of the worst things I could have ever done for him, was put him in that situation.”

—With assitance from Dana Hull




1301 Clay St Ste 300N

Oakland, CA 94612-5224

Telephone: (510) 637-3300

Fax: (510)637-3315


Re: Tesla Motors Corporation Case 32-CA-197020


Sept. 20, 2017


Deputy Regional Attorney Jeffrey L. Henze - NLRB

Field Attorney Edris W.I. Rodriguez Ritchie - NLRB

Valerie Hardy-Mahoney, Regional Director – NLRB

Arnnon Geshuri – Tesla arnnon@tesla.com


John Skonberg - Littler Mendelson, P.C.



Our group has been involved with Tesla Motors since the formation of Tesla Motors.

We hereby confirm and verify that Tesla Motors has knowingly obfuscated previous investigations of safety and anti-trust issues in an ongoing effort to operate in a greed-over-safety business plan.

Tesla Motors staff and investors have threatened the lives and safety of those who might speak out about the abuse and negligence at Tesla Motors.

This matter is far more than a “few accidents”. Tesla Motors practices organized crime-like RICO violating manipulations within the industry. Elon Musk, his staff and investors, will lie to save their reputations at any cost.

We have communicated with the FBI, GAO, FTC and other investigators about this matter. You will find more than enough evidence at http://www.outloud.biz and thousands of other mirrors, to prove our assertions.

This public record letter shall serve as a public notice of our assertion of criminally negligent and illicit practices by Tesla Motors. We encourage the NLRB to deeply investigate Tesla Motors and to cooperate with the FBI, SEC, GAO and IG’s with concurrent investigations into Tesla Motors.

Over 100 of us are prepared to testify to Elon Musk’s and Tesla Motors criminal abuse of the industrial system and the bribery of political officials in order to operate cover-ups!

The Tesla Investigation Alliance


CC: FBI, FCC, FTC, GAO, CFTC, SEC, Congressional Agencies


Attachments- FBI Submits, Congressional Submits



In related news:

Tesla fires another load of BS after US Labor Board complaint catches Musk making everyone hide his scam

  • Elon Musk makes his suppliers, customers, employees, and everyone else, sign secrecy agreements in order to hide the fact that his world is all a Ponzi Scam.

  • Musk fears that his people will leak the fact that he is just running one big shell game

  • Now, his sociopathic paranoia is catching up with him!

The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint Thursday against Tesla, confirming that the company required workers to sign a nondisclosure agreement that would prevent employees from discussing working conditions and safety at the Fremont plant.

Pro-union workers have complained in the past regarding working conditions at the plant, and some pro-union employees have even violated their nondisclosure agreements to speak out against certain horrific safety abuse, coercion and sexual abuse practices at Tesla.

The labor agency’s complaint gives merit to workers’ past claims regarding safety on the production line. The claims, made by pro-union workers in mid August, fly directly in the face of Musk’s thoughts on the Model 3 production line.

“We’ve gone to great pains to bribe all the right politicians,” Musk implied in May during a first-quarter earnings call. “We’ve designed it to be easy to fake that we are not the political finance facade that Tesla actually is.” said one of his insiders.

Tesla has already responded to the NLRB’s complaint.

Tesla further slammed the UAW because Musk hates poor people and the Middle Class. Musk does not think that anybody who can't afford all of the hookers and jet planes that Musk has is not worth worrying about.

The NLRB has also established a court date in November to address the charges at hand. Tesla has largely denied all allegations that call workers’ safety at the Fremont plant into question. Bright Automotive and other car company representatives have begun filing reports, documents and insider reports with the NLRB and the GAO to prove that Musk and Tesla are liars and scammers who care nothing about their workers!

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously made statements that the workers at the Fremont factory, which is tasked with ramping up Tesla Model 3 production, would be entering “production hell” in the coming months.

The “production hell” comes as part of Tesla’s plan to ramp up Model 3 production according to an S-Curve — a production model that requires intense investment and work early on to diffuse innovation and create the most efficient way to build a product.

Tesla and Musk have been under intense pressure to make sure the Model 3 goes off without a hitch, ensuring that a major component of Musk’s master plan — to create an affordable, high-volume EV — is within reach.

The fact is: Elon Musk is a liar, a mobster and a "Ponzi Scheme Racketeer" who bribed his way into political crony government hand-outs, sabotaged his competitors and broke tons of anti-trust laws! He was protected from law enforcement by Obama and Hillary...now...not so much!

The facts prove it. Court evidence proves it and The Cover-ups operated by the FBI's James Comey and Eric Holder prove it!





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