Melvin Berry claims he was called racial slurs and when he complained, he was given harder jobs and longer work hours.
Within the last four years, there have been several racial discrimination lawsuits reportedly filed against Tesla. Elon Musk serves as CEO of the electric vehicle company that he co-founded, and while the brand has become one of the most popular among the masses, especially within Hip Hop, it has been reported that their employees have endured harassment.
Melvin Berry began working at a Tesla factory as a materials handler in California back in 2015, but he was only employed for approximately 17 months before deciding to quit. CBS News reports that Berry complained of being “harassed on the job,” only to be ignored by his supervisors when he alerted them that his co-workers were calling him the n-word.
Berry filed official complaints within the company but it reportedly didn’t help his situation. “No other word in the English language so powerfully or instantly calls to mind our country’s long and brutal struggle to overcome racism and discrimination against African Americans,” arbitrator Elaine Rushing wrote in court documents. There was reportedly evidence to support that at least two supervisors also “used racial slurs against Berry.”
Additionally, when he confronted his supervisors regarding their racist language, he was reportedly given more physically strenuous jobs and “forced to work longer hours.” Courts awarded Berry $1 million in arbitration. In other recent lawsuits against the company, 100 employees reportedly came together for a class action suit where several Black employees complained about being called the n-word and other racial slurs by supervisors—one person saying it happened to them upwards of 100 times. Employees also stated that “KKK signs and swastikas” were “spray-painted on bathroom stalls.”
“Everyone at Tesla, without exception, is required to go through an anti-discrimination course,” Tesla wrote in a 2017 blog post. “Our company has more than 33,000 employees, with over 10,000 in the Fremont factory alone, so it is not humanly possible to stop all bad conduct, but we will do our best to make it as close to zero as possible.”
Elon Musk has not commented on this latest development with Melvin Berry. It is unclear if the supervisors and employees accused of racism were allowed to retain their positions within the company or if they were let go.