The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleges it received "hundreds" of complaints about racial discrimination against the electric vehicle company.
California is suing Tesla over complaints alleging racial discrimination that was filed against the electric vehicle and clean energy company. In a press release issued Thursday, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing announced it filed the lawsuit against Tesla after receiving "hundreds" of complaints by workers at its Fremont manufacturing plant.
"After receiving hundreds of complaints from workers and a nearly three-year investigation, DFEH found evidence that Tesla operates a racially segregated workplace where Black workers are subjected to racial slurs and discriminated against in job assignments, discipline, pay, and promotion," said DFEH Director Kevin Kish, per the release.
"DFEH will continue to take steps to keep workplaces free of harassment and racism," he added. The company responded to the lawsuit in a recent blog post, according to CNN Business.
"Tesla strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment," the automaker said in its blog post, per CNN. "Tesla continues to seek to provide a workplace that is safe, respectful, fair, and inclusive."
DFEH and Tesla did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment. Elon Musk's Tesla employs over 36,000 workers in California, the lawsuit states.
The suit claims Black workers in California were discriminated against after Tesla segregated them to the "lowest levels of the workforce across the state." Additionally, the lawsuit argues that Black workers were underrepresented in leadership roles.
A passage in the lawsuit reads, "Segregation at the Fremont factory, along with the absence of Black and/or African Americans in leadership roles, has left many complaints of rampant racism unchecked for years. As early as 2012, Black and/or African American Tesla workers have complained that Tesla production leads, supervisors, and managers constantly use the n-word and other racial slurs to refer to Black workers."
It continued, "They have complained that swastikas, 'KKK,' the n-word, and other racist writing are etched onto walls of restrooms, restroom stalls, lunch tables, and even factory machinery. They have complained that Black and/or African American workers are assigned to more physically demanding posts and the lowest-level contract roles, paid less, and more often terminated from employment than other workers." (Source)