According to Bloomberg Law, a former Tesla employee received a $1 million award after an arbitrator concluded the corporation failed to prohibit his bosses from using a racial epithet. Melvin Berry, a Black man, was hired at Tesla’s Alameda, California, plant in 2015. When Berry challenged him, he said a supervisor called him the N-word and then reacted by pushing him to work longer hours and do more physically demanding labor. The charges have been refuted by Tesla.
According to Bloomberg, arbitrator Elaine Rushing ruled on May 12th that Tesla was accountable for the harassment Berry detailed. Rushing stated, “Case law is clear that a supervisor directing the N-word at a subordinate is sufficient to constitute serious harassment.” She also claimed that a supervisor who issued a warning letter to Berry lacked credibility.
According to the arbitrator’s verdict, Tesla maintained that there was no documented evidence that Berry had complained about superiors calling him the N-word and that he left the firm freely.
Employer-employee arbitration proceedings are typically kept private, but according to Bloomberg, Berry’s attorney filed a normal petition in court to enforce the arbitrator’s ruling, which exposed the judgment. Berry’s attorney, Lawrence Organ, told Bloomberg that since Tesla had paid the award, he would not pursue any further legal action.
Berry isn’t the first Tesla employee to accuse the company of racism. Marcus Vaughn, a former Tesla assembly worker, sued the business in 2017, alleging that the corporation failed to investigate his written complaint that coworkers and superiors had called him the N-word. The Fremont factory, according to Vaughn, is a “hotbed for racist activity.” Vaughn’s complaint was a “hotbed of disinformation,” Tesla said at the time in a statement. A judge in Alameda County denied the company’s bid to prevent Vaughn from pursuing class-action status for the lawsuit in April.
Tesla did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Thursday; the company closed its press office last year and does not normally respond to media inquiries.