Tesla has been ordered to fork over a hefty payment to a Black former employee who was subjected to racial abuse while working for the company.
On Monday, an eight-person jury ruled that Owen Diaz, who worked at Tesla’s Fremont plant in 2015 and 2016, endured extensive racial discrimination and a hostile environment while with the company.
Diaz was employed as a contracted elevator operator, who says that he was subjected to “daily racist epithets.” In his lawsuit, Diaz detailed how fellow white employees drew swastikas and racist graffiti throughout the facility. He also stated that white workers frequently used the N-word, and supervisors refused to take action.
Diaz has now been granted $130 million in punitive damages and another $6.9 million in compensatory damages.
Tesla previously denied any wrongdoing in the case. On Monday, the company’s vice president Valerie Capers Workman said in a blog post that Tesla was “not perfect” in 2015 and 2016 but claimed that it had come a long way in five years.
Lawrence Organ, Diaz’s attorney, commended his client for standing up against the automotive corporation and believes he “sent a message to Tesla that what it did was wrong.”