Lawyers Representing Former Black Tesla Employee Reject $15M Settlement
Photo Credit: Spencer Platt

Lawyers Representing Former Black Tesla Employee Reject $15M Settlement

The updates in this Tesla case just keep getting worse and worse. Lawyers representing the former elevator operator who filed a lawsuit against the smart car company have officially rejected a $15 million award.

According to Complex, Owen Diaz is now rejecting a new trial after his original verdict amount of nearly $137 million was reduced to $15 million. As previously reported by AfroTech, Diaz only had a few days to decide on whether he would accept the offer on the table. Now, it looks like he will continue to fight for what he says he’s worth.

“In rejecting the court’s excessive reduction by asking for a new trial, Mr. Diaz is again asking a jury of his peers to evaluate what Tesla did to him and to provide just compensation for the torrent of racist slurs that was directed at him,” said his lawyers in a statement.

Years Of Fighting

Initially filed in 2017, the racial discrimination class-action suit said that the company “failed to take appropriate action” after Diaz filed multiple complaints of harassment that he experienced at the Fremont factory.

Diaz was originally awarded $136.9 million after a jury found Tesla Inc. to be liable for harassment including the practice of what was reported as a “near-daily use of the N-word” directed specifically at the former employee. Despite those findings, the final agreement was altered by a federal judge who argued that the original jury decision was what he deemed to be “unconstitutionally large.” The amount was changed significantly, reportedly reducing “compensatory damages down to $1.5 million and punitive damages down to $13.5 million.”

Will Justice Ever Be Served?

Now, it’s been nearly five years and Diaz has yet to receive justice for the alleged discrimination he faced while working at the Tesla Fremont plant. AfroTech also previously shared that Diaz is not alone in his complaints against the Elon Musk-led company.

“According to The Los Angeles Times, the state of California has filed a lawsuit against the Elon Musk-led company. The lawsuit comes after more than 32 months of an investigation into the practices by the company, as well as countless worker complaints spanning more than 10 years against the organization.”