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Tesla Says Accusations Are 'Hotbed of Misinformation'

Company says lawyer has a 'long track record of extorting money.'

Last week, Tesla responded to allegations regarding racism in the workplace. The lawsuit by a former employee alleges that the company's factory in Fremont, CA is a "hotbed for racist behavior." Tesla's response was thus titled, "Hotbed of Misinformation."

According to the LA Times, former assembly worker Marcus Vaughn said that supervisors and co-workers called him the N-word. He claims to have made a complaint to HR, but it was not investigated. According to Vaughn, Tesla fired him for "not having a positive attitude."

According to Tesla, Vaughn was actually hired by a temp agency, and he wasn't fired, but rather his six-month temp contract ended. As for the more serious allegations, the blog post does state that the company had investigated "disappointing behavior" that involved a group of employees who worked on or near Vaughn's team. The investigation yielded conflicting reports from both African-American and Hispanic employees who used hate speech. As a result of the investigation, three employees were fired.

"Disappointing behavior" is a bit of an understatement if these accusations are proven to be true. The lawsuit states that a co-worker was hit in the back of the head with a chair when he spoke up about the language being used on the production line, as well "hateful, violent and racist videos created on his phone by an employee and a supervisor."

Tesla stated that the company has more than 33,000 employees, with over 10,000 at the Fremont factory, and admitted that "it's not humanly possible to stop all bad conduct."

In the statement, Tesla also attacked the trial lawyer that filed the lawsuit, stating that the lawyer has a "long track record of extorting money for meritless claims and using the threat of media attacks and expensive trial costs to get companies to settle."

The company added:

"At Tesla, we would rather pay ten times the settlement demand in legal fees and fight to the ends of the Earth than give in to extortion and allow this abuse of the legal system."

This is IEN Now with David Mantey. 

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