Owen Diaz, an ex-employee at Tesla’s Fremont, California factory, had spotlighted the company’s workplace environment by alleging severe racial discrimination. Detailing his experiences, Diaz spoke of racial slurs and offensive graffiti during his tenure as an elevator operator.
Diaz’s legal representatives contended that during a five-day trial earlier this year, Tesla’s attorneys posed inappropriate questions, unfoundedly alleged a witness was untruthful, and presented the jury with deceptive statements.
The outcome? A San Francisco-based U.S. District Judge, William Orrick, chose to affirm a $3.2 million verdict awarded to Diaz by a jury this past April. Tesla’s hopes of having the amount reduced were dashed.
But this isn’t Diaz’s first rodeo with the legal system concerning the matter. In 2021, another jury granted him a whopping $137 million. However, Judge Orrick opined that this sum was excessive. Consequently, a second trial had to be ordered when Diaz declined Tesla’s offer to settle at $15 million.
It appears that Tesla’s legal challenges continue, emphasizing the pressing importance of workplace equity and inclusion in modern enterprises.