Elon Musk’s Tesla car company has been ordered to pay USD 3.2 million in compensation to a black factory worker who was bombarded with the N-word.
Owen Diaz told the court how he had been subjected to countless racial slurs on the Tesla factory floor in Fremont, California.
Diaz – who worked as a lift operator from 2015 to 2016 – was the victim of a racially hostile workplace, a federal jury in San Francisco found.
But the compensation payment has been slashed from the USD 137 million (GBP 110 million) that Diaz was originally awarded in 2021.
A judge ruled last year that the initial amount was excessive but Diaz fought for a retrial.
Diaz was awarded USD 3 million (GBP 2.4 million) in punitive damages and USD 175,000 (GBP 140,000) in damages for emotional distress, on Monday, 3rd April.
But multi-billionaire Telsa CEO Musk scorned the award today, on 4th April, tweeting: “If we had been allowed to introduce new evidence, the verdict would’ve been zero imo,”
He added: “Jury did the best they could with the information they had. I respect the decision.”
Musk did not, though, give any clue about what new evidence Tesla would have presented.
In the original case, the court heard how black workers could hear racial insults up to 100 times a day.
One part of the factory which had mostly black workers was even reportedly known as ‘The Plantation’.
Tesla is also facing further allegations in a separate case brought by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
It claims it has received “hundreds” of complaints from Tesla employees who say they have been the victims of racism and harassment.
Valerie Capers Workman, then Tesla’s Vice President of People, Head of Compliance, and Associate General Counsel, said in 2021: “We do recognise that in 2015 and 2016 we were not perfect. We’re still not perfect.”
Capers Workman, who is black and who has since left Tesla, had added at the time: “But we have come a long way from five years ago. We continue to grow and improve in how we address employee concerns.”
As of April 2023, Tesla reportedly had a market cap of over USD 650 billion (GBP 520 billion), making it the world’s 8th most valuable company.