A Tesla assembly line worker, DeWitt Lambert, has sued the car maker for racial harassment and discrimination. Lambert, who worked at Tesla’s California-based manufacturing plant alleges that he was the victim of “racial slurs and lewd behavior” for more than a year.
Lambert endured months of racial discrimination, sexual harassment, and violent threats from his coworkers after moving to California from Alabama to start what he thought was going to be a dream job. According to the lawsuit, Tesla employees would “call him the N-word throughout his workday, talk about the size of his penis, and even placed a drill gun into his buttocks.” Lambert faced these negative and humiliating behaviors from the summer of 2015 to the spring of 2016.
Lambert says that he has “experienced discrimination worse than anything” than he experienced growing up in Alabama, and that he is “scared” for his safety every night when leaving the Tesla plant.
Lambert Asked Management for Help, But it “Never Came”
The lawsuit claims that Lambert had asked management and human resources at Tesla for help but it didn’t come, despite evidence of the harassment being caught on camera. Lambert’s harassers were instead promoted and then supervised him.
Tesla Racial Harassment Video
In October 2015, a video camera caught the workplace harassment and violent threats on Lambert’s iPhone. The violent threats from coworkers were very graphic and claimed that they would cut and shred Lambert into pieces, and send his body parts to family members. These threats also contained the word, “nigger” throughout the recordings, as well.
According to Lambert’s attorney his coworkers “went out of their way to document their racist and sexist behavior by leaving video recordings on Lambert’s phone.”
Where Tesla May Have Gone Wrong
The lawsuit against Tesla claims that the car maker violated California law and “failed to take immediate and appropriate corrective action.” California employment law prohibits discrimination and harassment due to race, and also protects employees from sexual harassment and violent behaviors in the workplace.
Due to Tesla’s inaction, the lawsuit states that Lambert is “claiming psychological harm and medical problems” and that Tesla is liable for damages for failing to “adequately investigate and prevent damaging abuse from taking place.”
Tesla has refuted the contents of Lambert’s lawsuit. Lambert is currently suspended with full pay while the car maker investigates the incidents.
You can read the full press release regarding Lambert’s lawsuit here.
Tesla Racial Harassment Lawsuit: For Further Reading
- Tesla refutes claims in racial harassment lawsuit filed by one of its workers via TechCrunch
- A Tesla employee is suing the company over claims of racial harassment and discrimination via Business Insider
- Tesla employee alleges physical, racial harassment in suit via SFGate.com
Contact a California Racial Harassment Attorney
If you feel that your employer is violating racial harassment laws in California, contact an experienced Los Angeles employment attorney at Hennig Ruiz today. Harassment in the workplace should never be tolerated and your employer must be held accountable.