Black Tesla employee in racism claim at Fremont gigafactory

Black Tesla employee in racism claim at Fremont gigafactory

July 7, 2021

Black Tesla employee claims he was called the N-word ‘approximately 100 times’ at its California gigafactory and saw KKK signs and swastikas plastered over the bathroom

  • Aaron Craven’s sworn declaration among 100 others from fellow staff members 
  • Allegations of a racist culture at the electric car giant’s main factory in Fremont 
  • Plant ‘referred to as ”the Plantation” and black employees as ”cotton workers”’ 

A black employee at Tesla’s California gigafactory claims he was called the N-word ‘approximately 100 times’ and saw swastikas and KKK signs plastered over the bathroom as the company faces a major racism lawsuit.

Aaron Craven’s sworn declaration is among 100 others from fellow staff members claiming Elon Musk’s electric car giant discriminates against black people and has created a toxic atmosphere at its main factory in Fremont.

‘I was directly called ”n*****’ approximately 100 times at the Fremont factory,’ Craven – who has since left the firm – said in a sworn statement filed to Alameda County Superior Court and seen by Dailymail.com.

Aaron Craven’s sworn declaration is among 100 others from fellow staff members Tesla is racist against black people and has created a toxic atmosphere at its main factory in Fremont (pictured) 

Another plaintiff, ex-contractor Aaron Minor, said he heard Tesla employees describing the factor as ‘the Plantation’ and its black employees as ‘cotton workers’, according to a 500-page exhibit.

‘My understanding is that people refer to the Tesla factory as the Plantation and call employees cotton workers because Tesla treats its Black employees like slaves,’ Minor wrote.

Other employees claimed black workers struggled to get promotions and were forced to perform menial tasks. They also claim bosses were not interested in investigating claims of racism.

The action by four plaintiffs alleges that Tesla has ‘created an intimidating, hostile, and offensive work environment for black and/or African-American employees that includes a routine use of the terms ‘n****r’ and ‘n***a’ and other racially-derogatory terms, and racist treatment and images’.

The sworn statements, given on pain of perjury, are part of a 2017 class-action lawsuit to win damages against the Fremont factory, which employs more close to 10,000 people.

Since 2018, just under 120 have requested the right to sue Tesla in California for discrimination, with nine claims rejected due to insufficient evidence, Protocol.com reported.

Another plaintiff, ex-contractor Aaron Minor, said he heard Tesla employees describing the factor as ‘the Plantation’ and its black employees as ‘cotton workers’

Tesla insists the reports do not represent the experience of black employees and has fought the lawsuit, Marcus Vaughn v. Tesla, in Alameda County Superior Court since 2017.

Larry Organ, an attorney for the California Civil Rights Law Group, said: ‘My personal view is that Tesla does not focus on investigating and preventing these claims.

‘It all depends on the facts of the case.

‘However, what our class action has revealed and what the culmination of these cases shows, use of the N-word and other racist symbols like a swastika has been consistently used at the factory in Fremont since 2015.’

The lawyer is demanding punitive damages and a jury trial.

The Fremont plant, located in Alameda County, was at the centre of criticism last year after Tesla CEO Elon Musk urged workers back to work at the height of the pandemic in March.

Three workers claimed they had been fired after choosing to stay home after refusing to go into work following Tesla’s decision to renege on a policy where they could stay at home if they feared passing on COVID to a loved one.

Tesla insists the reports do not represent the experience of black employees and has fought the lawsuit, Marcus Vaughn v. Tesla, in Alameda County Superior Court since 2017. Pictured is its CEO, Elon Musk 

Musk – who decried government lockdowns as ‘fascist’ – tweeted on May 11: ‘Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.’

Several days later, the billionaire reached an agreement with officials to allow the reopening of the plant as long as all COVID cases at the facility were reported to the Alameda County Public Health Department.

Data from the Department obtained by The Washington Post earlier this year showed that around 450 employees contracted COVID-19 between May and December 2020. 

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