Tesla Employee Files Suit Against Company For Racial Discrimination, Sexual Harassment
May 26, 2017
Los Angeles, CA (Law Firm Newswire) May 26, 2017 – A Tesla employee at a Fremont, California, factory has filed a racial harassment, discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit against Tesla. In the suit, DeWitt Lambert claims he endured physical, sexual and racial taunts between June 2015 and April 2016, and was retaliated against for his complaints.
Lambert alleges his co-workers made racial slurs and lewd comments about his sexual prowess. His co-workers, who are younger than Lambert, began immediately taunting him in the beginning of his employment in June 2015 by making racial and sexual comments about him, placing stickers on his back, sticking tools in his pockets, hiding his tools and stealing his phone.
In one incident, his supervisor took his phone and recorded a minute-long video in which co-workers flashed gang signs while the supervisor made violent threats in form of a rap, with frequent use of the N-word. In another incident, a co-worker stuck a drill into Lambert’s buttocks in front of other employees. The suit alleges that the harassment stemmed from stereotypes of older African American men.
According to the suit, Lambert complained to Human Resources in Fall 2015 about his co-workers’ frequent use of the N-word and their behavior that was creating a “hostile work environment,” but they failed to investigate the complaint. Lambert also applied to several positions in different departments, but none led to a transfer.
In April 2016, Human Resources did investigate Lambert’s complaint about his co-workers’ use of “racially insensitive language” during an argument. However, the investigation uncovered conflicting accounts of the argument, and ultimately found no objective evidence that Lambert was subjected to inappropriate behavior. The case closed after Human Resources coached the group of workers on the importance of behaving professionally.
The suit also claims that Lambert was retaliated against for his complaints by failing to rotate his shift in the factory line after every two hours as required by company policy, which made him suffer a back injury.
Tesla is currently investigating Lambert’s complaints, and the company has suspended Lambert with pay until its investigations are final.
For further information on how to deal with sexual harassment at work, visit the Strong Advocates sexual harassment page.
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