Tesla is once again under fire for alleged racial harassment. This time, a Black gay ex-employee claims she was assaulted and verbally abused — complete with racial slurs — by a co-worker.
Business Insider is reporting that Kaylen Barker — who filed her lawsuit against the company yesterday — is going after both the Elon Musk-helmed automaker and its staffing company, Staffmark.
According to her suit, Tesla failed to address the racist abuse she endured every day from her fellow employees, especially after she got a promotion. She also alleges that at one point, a co-worker — whom she only identified as “Joanne” in the suit — would mutter the N-word under her breath every time Barker walked by. And when Barker brought the alleged abuse to the attention of the Human Resources department, nothing was done about it.
“I was violated physically, mentally, and emotionally because I am an African American lesbian,” Barker said in a statement provided, through her attorney, to the outlet.
And it gets worse. In her lawsuit, Barker claims that Tesla finally fired “Joanne” from the company, but she was re-hired less than two weeks later, and Barker claimed she was then “put under investigation.” Barker was then called into HR on a near-daily basis, and was demanded to sign documents claiming she was “insubordinate.” Subsequently, she was repeatedly sent home for the afternoon — thus losing out on roughly a half-day’s pay — until she was ultimately fired from the company on Oct. 29 of last year.
Barker’s attorney, it should be noted, is the same attorney who represented ex-Tesla employee Owen Diaz, an elevator operator in Fremont, CA, who also sued the company for racial discrimination — and won.
Tesla Has Faced Other Similar Racial Discrimination Suits Before
In August 2021, AfroTech reported on an ex-employee named Melvin Berry, who worked in the car manufacturer’s Northern California plant and got a $1 million payout after a court ruled that the company failed to stop his supervisors from calling him the N-word.
Just two months later, AfroTech again reported on another ex-employee in the Fremont, CA warehouse who received a $130 million settlement for creating a “racially hostile work environment.”
Maybe Elon Musk should stop worrying about the Happy Meals he’s going to eat if McDonald’s accepts Dogecoin and start paying attention to how his Black employees are being treated.