It is going to be a long fought battle for a Black former Tesla employee.
AfroTech previously reported Owen Diaz filed a racial harassment and discrimination lawsuit against the automotive company.
In 2021, he shared with the court that he had been told by coworkers to “go back to Africa,” per Insider. Diaz also claimed racial graffiti was scrawled in the bathrooms of the Tesla factory.
Furthermore, Diaz claims his fellow employees, including one supervisor, harassed him using racial slurs such as the N-word.
A favorable ruling had been given to Diaz by the court, and he was originally awarded $137 million in the case, which Insider reports accounted for “$130 million in punitive damages and $6.9 million for emotional distress.” However, the amount was decreased significantly to $15 million when Tesla came back saying the amount should only be $600,000, according to TechCrunch.
Unsatisfied, Diaz requested a retrial and the amount dwindled to $3.2 million.
In a recent court filing, Diaz’s lawyers claim Tesla’s “improper” questioning of him prevented him from receiving the “free trial to which he was entitled” to.
The filing mentions that lawyers representing Tesla stated Diaz was a “racist and misogynist who hurled ethnic slurs against ‘dumb Mexicans’ and sexually harassed multiple women.”
“Each incident of misconduct damaged the integrity of the trial, and their cumulative impact on the jury was monumentally prejudicial to Plaintiff,” the filing read.
It also mentioned, “The Court was forced to repeatedly issue curative instructions to counteract Tesla’s behavior, but those instructions (while proper) necessarily highlighted Tesla’s poisonous messaging. There was no meaningful way to wipe Tesla’s improper accusations and suggestions from the jury’s consciousness.”
Lawyers from Tesla are allegedly looking for Diaz’s awarded damages to be updated to $1.75 million, according to Bloomberg.
Diaz worked as an elevator operator in the company’s Fremont, CA, factory via an agency in 2015, and he isn’t the only Black employee who has filed a lawsuit of this kind against the company.