Tesla Inc. has been ordered to pay about $137 million (N56 billion) to Owen Diaz, a black former employee who won a verdict that the electric-car maker failed to prevent his managers from using him the “N-word” at the company’s northern California plant.
On Monday, October 4, a federal jury found that the corporation failed to take reasonable efforts to prevent Owen, a lift operator hired through a recruiting agency in 2015, from being racially harassed.
Diaz’s attorney, Lawrence A. Organ, informed the Washington Post that a jury in San Francisco awarded him $130 million in punitive damages and $6.9 million in compensatory damages.
Owen Diaz described the Fremont, California, facility in his claim as a “hotbed of racist activity” where he was subjected to everyday racist abuse, including the use of the N-word, for 11 months between 2015 and 2016.
The 52-year-old alleged that coworkers drew swastikas and left racist graffiti throughout the plant, and that one of his managers sketched a black face with a bone in his hair and wrote ‘booo,’ short for ‘jigaboo.’
He was allegedly told that he couldn’t take a joke when he questioned the supervisor.
Diaz said that none of his bosses intervened to halt the torture.