Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) accused a California civil rights regulator on Tuesday of rushing to sue companies without performing adequate investigations, an effort to go on the offense as the electric car company confronts allegations of rampant racial prejudice at its assembly factory.

Tesla warned California’s Office of Administrative Law (OAL) in a 10-page lawsuit that the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) had implemented “underground regulations” that violate conditions it must fulfill before suing firms.

In a February complaint, DFEH alleged that Tesla’s headquarters in Fremont, California, was a racially segregated workplace where Black employees were harassed and discriminated against in terms of job assignments, punishment, and compensation. more info

The lawsuit filed on Tuesday seeks to limit DFEH’s ability to prosecute discrimination claims by requiring the agency to take extra measures before suing, such as offering extensive explanations of alleged legal infractions and attempting to settle outside of court.

Requests for comment were not returned by DFEH or OAL.

On Tuesday, a California state court indicated he would most likely refuse Tesla’s plea to halt the case while the OAL reviews the company’s new complaint. On Wednesday, the judge will convene a hearing.

The complaint is one of many in California courts accusing Tesla of allowing discrimination and sexual harassment at its facilities.

In April, a state court granted $15 million to a Black former elevator operator who said he faced extreme racial discrimination at the Fremont factory. This ruling, which the worker is appealing, reduced a $137 million jury judgement. more info

Tesla is also facing a class action lawsuit alleging similar racial prejudice, as well as at least seven sexual harassment complaints filed by female workers.

Tesla has denied any wrongdoing and claims the DFEH’s complaint is political in nature. Tesla alleged in its lawsuit on Tuesday that DFEH violated state law by suing the firm without first alerting it of all accusations or providing it an opportunity to settle.

According to the corporation, DFEH regards such regulations as “a mere bureaucratic nuisance requiring only sham compliance.”

DFEH said in a court filing last month that state law does not put onerous standards on the agency prior to suing businesses, and that its investigation of Tesla was comprehensive and in accordance with state law.

OAL examines state agency regulations and may give rulings that agency rules are invalid, as well as recommendations that rules be repealed or altered.

A positive verdict from OAL might be used by Tesla to persuade a state court to dismiss DFEH’s complaint or require the agency to implement new procedures.

In its lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Tesla claimed that DFEH’s alleged wrongdoing was widespread and not limited to its case against the corporation.

Tesla highlighted court records by Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI.O), which is facing a sex discrimination case brought by DFEH last year, in which the company also accuses the agency of failing to perform a competent investigation.

Source: Reuters


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here