June 26, 2022

A San Francisco decide on Wednesday slashed the $137 million in damages Tesla was instructed to pay a former worker in a racial discrimination case right down to $15 million however upheld the decision.

In his ruling, US District Court docket Choose William Orrick stated “the load of the proof amply helps the jury’s legal responsibility findings” however the damages ordered have been “extreme,” citing constitutional limitations on punitive damages set by the Supreme Court docket.

Tesla was ordered in October to pay Black former worker Owen Diaz $137 million in damages for turning a blind eye to racism the person encountered on the agency’s Silicon Valley auto plant.

Rejecting Tesla’s request for a retrial, Orrick stated “Tesla’s indifference to Diaz’s complaints is putting.”

He stated the proof offered to the jurors was “disturbing.”

“The jury heard that the Tesla manufacturing unit was saturated with racism. Diaz confronted frequent racial abuse, together with the N-word and different slurs,” the decide wrote.

“His supervisors, and Tesla’s broader administration construction, did little or nothing to reply.

“And supervisors even joined in on the abuse, one going as far as to threaten Diaz and draw a racist caricature close to his workstation.”

A US decide lower the $137 million awarded to a former worker in a racial discrimination case however stated the proof supported the jury’s findings Photograph: AFP / JOSH EDELSON

The unique award comprised $130 million in punitive damages and $6.9 million for emotional misery, which Orrick lower to $13.5 million in punitive damages and $1.5 million for emotional hurt, “the utmost quantity supportable by proof.”

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Employed by way of a staffing company, Diaz had labored as an elevator operator between June 2015 and July 2016 on the Fremont plant, the place he was subjected to racist abuse and a hostile work atmosphere, based on the courtroom submitting.

In his lawsuit filed in 2017, Diaz stated African-American staff on the manufacturing unit, the place his son additionally labored, have been commonly subjected to racist epithets and derogatory imagery.

Diaz additionally stated that, regardless of complaints to supervisors, Tesla took no motion over the common racist abuse.

Following the October verdict, Tesla launched a weblog submit by human assets vp Valerie Capers Workman, which downplayed the allegations of racist abuse within the lawsuit however acknowledged that on the time Diaz labored there, Tesla “was not excellent.”

Workman stated Tesla had responded to Diaz’s complaints, firing two contractors and suspending a 3rd.

In February, the California Division of Honest Employment and Housing, which enforces the state’s civil rights legal guidelines, sued Tesla over discrimination and harassment in opposition to Black employees on the identical manufacturing unit, which the criticism referred to as a “racially segregated office.”

The company stated it had acquired a whole bunch of complaints from employees on the Fremont plant.