California’s Office of Administrative Law (OAL) has denied Elon Musk-run Tesla’s petition against the country’s civil rights regulator that accused the company of racial discrimination at its factories.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, DFEH (now called Department of Civil Rights) filed a lawsuit against Tesla in February, alleging racial discrimination and harassment at its Fremont, California manufacturing plant.
Tesla then filed the petition with California’s OAL in June this year, claiming that the Department of Civil Rights didn’t give the electric car-maker “fair notice of an investigation”.
OAL has now denied Tesla’s petition against the state’s civil rights watchdog, TechCrunch reported late on Monday. The OAL said that Tesla can still pursue its claims in court. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has also initiated an “open investigation” into Tesla for alleged workplace discrimination at its facilities.
In October last year, Tesla was ordered to pay $137 million in damages to a Black former contractor who accused the company of ignoring discrimination and racial abuse.
The US District Judge later reduced the punitive damages to $15 million. In February, the DEFH filed a lawsuit against Tesla, alleging systematic racial discrimination and harassment at its Fremont manufacturing plant in the state.
The regulatory agency said it received several complaints on workplace issues at Tesla’s Fremont factory. “After receiving hundreds of complaints from workers, DFEH found evidence that Tesla’s Fremont factory is a racially segregated workplace where Black workers are subjected to racial slurs and discriminated against in job assignments, discipline, pay, and promotion creating a hostile work environment,” the agency’s director Kevin Kish had said in a statement.
In a blog post, Tesla said that the lawsuit follows a three-year investigation during which the DFEH — whose mission is supposedly to protect workers — “has never once raised any concern about the current workplace practices at Tesla”. “Rather, the lawsuit appears focused on alleged misconduct by production associates at the Fremont factory that took place between 2015 and 2019,” the electric car maker had said.
Read the Latest News and Breaking News here