It pays not to be racist.
Bloomberg reports that Tesla Inc. has just awarded a former Black employee over $1 million after they failed to stop his supervisors from calling him the N-word.
Melvin Berry received a very rare discrimination award by an arbitrator followed by a closed-door proceeding.
In the past, Tesla has been known to ignore the commonplace use of racial slurs that have been used at the electric-car maker’s northern California plant. For years the company not only refused to only address the racial slurs but was also slow to clean up graffiti of swastikas and hate symbols that were scrawled in workplace common areas.
Berry fought with the company for years after he was met with discriminatory and racially charged actions from both co-workers and his acting supervisor during his tenure with the company. He was hired as a materials handler for Tesla in 2015 before quitting less than 18 months later.
“I hope the world knows that an arbitrator found Tesla treats its employees like this,” said Berry in an interview with Bloomberg.
Now, Berry plans to take time off to focus on his mental health and has plans to continue to work toward the healing process following the emotional battle he faced with the company.
Tesla has continued to deny allegations in not only Berry’s case but others like it. In a 2017 statement, the company shared that it “is absolutely against any form of discrimination, harassment, or unfair treatment of any kind.”
Tesla has not yet issued a statement following the news of the award.
“Racial discrimination awards are rare and it seems this was especially hard-fought,” he continued. “Rushing was clearly troubled by the facts, culture at the company, and the tone of the defense.”
Due to an evidence-gathering process that is much more restrictive than in court, it’s harder to prove claims of wrongdoing when it comes to employees winning discrimination cases in arbitration.