Having ditched its public relations team several years ago, it’s rare for Tesla to come out these days with any official statements on any developments. But from time to time the electric car firm will issue an official blog on its website.
Earlier this month it was announced that the company would be hit with a lawsuit that claimed “festering” racism and abuse at the company’s Freemont factory in California. The lawsuit claims that an employee at the firm was fired last October due to lodging complaints over abusive co-workers.
Now, Tesla themselves have come out stating that a lawsuit detailing “systeming racial discrimination” at Tesla is about to be revealed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The brand confirmed the news in a rare official blog, clearly aiming to tackle the lawsuit head-on by getting their word in first.
In the blog, Tesla states that the group “has never once raised any concern about current workplace practices at Tesla”, adding that “Tesla strongly opposes all forms of discrimination and harassment and has a dedicated Employee Relations team that responds to and investigates all complaints. We also have a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team.”
“Tesla has always disciplined and terminated employees who engage in misconduct, including those who use racial slurs or harass others in different ways,” it adds, noting it’s responded to almost 50 cases of discrimination in the workplace, with the DFEH not finding misconduct within Tesla on each occasion.
“We recently rolled out an additional training program that reinforces Tesla’s requirement that all employees must treat each other with respect and reminds employees about the numerous ways they can report concerns, including anonymously,” Tesla says.
The company adds that it’s done more for environmental progress than any other. “No company has done more for sustainability or the creation of clean energy jobs than Tesla. Yet, at a time when manufacturing jobs are leaving California, the DFEH has decided to sue Tesla instead of constructively working with us.
“This is both unfair and counterproductive, especially because the allegations focus on events from years ago.”
The company states that it intends to “ask the court to pause the case and take other steps to ensure that facts and evidence will be heard”, giving a good indication that it intends to battle the lawsuit in court.
“To date, despite repeated requests, the DFEH has declined to provide Tesla with the specific allegations or the factual bases for its lawsuit. Attacking a company like Tesla that has done so much good for California should not be the overriding aim of a state agency with prosecutorial authority. The interests of workers and fundamental fairness must come first,” Tesla adds.