Lessons from Tesla’s Lawsuit

Tesla just lost a record-setting lawsuit.  I’m Amy E. Feldman.

Owen Diaz worked as a contractor for a staffing company that stationed him at Tesla’s Fremont, California factory where he said he regularly faced discriminatory treatment and was called the n-word.  He complained to his staffing company employer and to Tesla but said nothing was done to stop it.  The jury in the case awarded $137 million, the biggest award in a racial harassment case for a single plaintiff in US history.

Tesla said witnesses had said that they thought the n-word was said in a friendly manner.  So, a couple of lessons: first, the n-word is a no.  Never.  Not ever.  No one should say it and companies should have a policy disciplining anyone who uses it.  No exceptions.  Second, every company now has a hundred and thirty-seven million reasons to care how it handles complaints even non-employees make about the worksite. 

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