A Black former Tesla employee who claimed he was harassed and subjected to “everyday racist epithets,” including the “N-word,” while working at the company’s Fremont, California, facility has rejected a $15 million settlement in his case.
Owen Diaz, who worked as a contractor elevator operator at the Tesla plant in 2015 and 2016 before departing, was initially granted $6.9 million in mental distress damages and $130 million in punitive damages in the case.
According to a court filing, a judge reduced that by nearly 90% to $15 million, which Diaz declined. Diaz’s rejection of the award could result in a new trial.
Diaz claimed that employees drew swastikas and left racist graffiti and drawings throughout the plant, and that management did nothing to halt the harassment.
A Tesla spokesman could not be reached for comment as of Wednesday night.