Former Tesla worker rejects £12.25 million award in racism case

Owen Diaz’s rejection of the award could mean a new trial in the case.

The Tesla logo on a electric vehicle in London
The Tesla logo on a electric vehicle in London

A black former Tesla worker who said he was harassed and faced with “daily racist epithets” including the “N-word” while working at the company’s California factory has rejected a substantially reduced award of 15 million dollars (£12.25 million) in his lawsuit.

Owen Diaz, who worked at the Tesla plant in 2015 and 2016 as a contracted elevator operator before quitting, was originally awarded 6.9 million dollars (£4.8 million) in damages for emotional distress and 130 million (£106 million) in punitive damages in the case.

A judge slashed that by nearly 90% to 15 million dollars, which Mr Diaz turned down, according to a court filing.

Mr Diaz’s rejection of the award could mean a new trial in the case.

Mr Diaz had alleged that employees drew swastikas and left racist graffiti and drawings around the factories and that supervisors failed to stop the abuse.

A representative for Tesla could not be reached for comment on Wednesday night.

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