The DFEH's lawsuit against Tesla is misguided, the manufacturer said, as it has never once raised any concern about current workplace practices at the company in the three years of investigation, which is revealing.
Recently it became known that the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) intends to file a lawsuit against Tesla for systematic racial discrimination and harassment. According to the manufacturer, this follows a three-year investigation in which the DFEH has never raised concerns about Tesla's current workplace practices. Since there has been no wrongdoing during that time, the company has assumed that the lawsuit is focused on alleged misconduct by production associates at the Fremont factory that took place between 2015 and 2019.
In a blog post, Tesla reminded readers that it strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment, and even formed a dedicated Employee Relations team that responds to and investigates all complaints. In addition, the manufacturer has a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team. Tesla recently launched an additional training program that reinforces the company's requirement that all employees treat each other with respect, and reminds employees of the various ways they can report concerns, including anonymously.
What is now known is that Tesla has always fairly punished and fired employees who committed misconduct, including those who used racial slurs or insulted others. The company continues to demonstrate its commitment to a safe, respectful, fair, and inclusive workplace for all company employees.
Today, Tesla is the last remaining car manufacturer in California. More than 30,000 Californians, both majorities and minorities, work at the Fremont plant. They all get the highest-paying jobs in the automotive industry. The manufacturer recalls that no company has done more for sustainability or creating clean energy jobs than Tesla. Considering this, it becomes strange that DFEH decided to sue Tesla instead of working constructively with the manufacturer, finding, discussing, and pointing out the right solution to problems it saw. The manufacturer emphasizes that such an attitude is both unfair and counterproductive, especially because the allegations focus on events from years ago.
Tesla said that over the past five years, the DFEH has received nearly 50 requests to investigate the company by individuals who believe they have been discriminated against or harassed. On every single occasion, once concluded, the DFEH has closed its investigation without a finding of misconduct against Tesla. Thus, the statement by the DFEH—which had investigated Tesla for three years without a concern raised—that systematic racial discrimination and harassment now somehow existed at the company, is not credible.
Thus, "once the DFEH files its lawsuit, Tesla will be asking the court to pause the case and take other steps to ensure that facts and evidence will be heard," the manufacturer said. Tesla also said that despite repeated requests, the DFEH refused to provide it with specific allegations or a factual basis for their claim.
It is absolutely natural that this case causes indignation among the manufacturer, who over the years has developed California not only economically, but also contributed to the development of environmentally friendly technologies there. The actions of DFEH cause distrust and reasonable suspicions of their sincerity. While the main goal of the agency should be to protect workers, it seems that in this case, the interests of someone or something else are brought to the fore.
© 2022, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.