A federal judge in California Monday granted Tesla’s motion for a new trial in a former employee’s racial discrimination lawsuit. Plantiff Owen Diaz turned down an award of $15 million which was originally $137 million.
In 2017 Diaz filed a lawsuit against Tesla for racial harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Diaz experienced constant harassment on a daily basis by his supervisors and coworkers and was subjected to racial slurs and racist graffiti. In October 2021 a jury awarded Diaz $137 million. This award was the largest race harassment jury verdict in American history.
In April 2021 Judge William Orrick reduced the award to $15 million. Orrick said that the original award was “grossly excessive” and unconstitutional. He revised the award to be $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $13.5 million in punitive damages. Orrick had conditionally denied Tesla’s motion for a new trial if Diaz accepted the new award amount.
This is not the first time that Tesla has faced racial discrimination lawsuits. In February the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued Tesla for the blatant mistreatment of their Black employees. The DFEH represented 50 employees and had received hundreds of complaints over their three-year investigation.
The trial setting conference is scheduled for Tuesday, July 12.