It’s Time for Tesla (and Everyone Else) to Take Racial Harassment Seriously

by Evil HR Lady on November 17, 2017

“You don’t have a positive attitude!” or “You’re not a team player!” or “It was just a joke. Everyone jokes.”

Look, I’m a fan of positive attitudes, teamwork, and jokes, but when it comes to race in the workplace, foul language and treating people poorly because of their skin color or national origin is never, ever, not once appropriate.

Marcus Vaughn, a former Tesla employee, filed a lawsuit in California claiming that while he was officially terminated for not having a positive attitude, the real reason was that he complained about racial harassment and that Tesla never investigated.

Tesla responded, in a statement to The Mercury News:

Several months ago we had already investigated disappointing behavior involving a group of individuals who worked on or near Marcus Vaughn’s team. At the time, our investigation identified a number of conflicting accusations and counter-accusations between several African-American and Hispanic individuals, alleging use of racial language, including the ‘n-word’ and ‘w-word,’ (a slur against Latino people) towards each other and a threat of violence.

After a thorough investigation, immediate action was taken, which included terminating the employment of three of the individuals.

To keep reading, click here: It’s Time for Tesla (and Everyone Else) to Take Racial Harassment Seriously

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

grannybunny November 17, 2017 at 4:24 pm

I agree that we need to take racial harassment seriously. However, I don’t think we can assume that Tesla didn’t do so, especially if an investigation occurred and 3 people were fired. It’s certainly possible that Tesla didn’t communicate as well as they should have with Vaughn about their actions. But, on the other hand, it’s more than a little dicey to discuss with one employee — especially one who may be perceived to have an attitude problem — disciplinary actions involving that employee’s co-workers. Typically, management’s “hands are tied,” in that they cannot make full disclosure to someone in Vaughn’s situation. It’s also possible that Vaughn was simply unhappy with the results or even falsely alleging discriminatory retaliation in order to try to get his termination reversed. Because of the heavy legal burdens in order to prevail in a discrimination case, only a very small percentage of complainants succeed.

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Justin November 17, 2017 at 4:34 pm

Yep.

I’ve been called that by a client and my colleagues and supervisors all appeared out of nowhere to remove the client and assure me that they wouldn’t tolerate such behavior. I wasn’t a huge fan of that job, but I’ll always appreciate that it was handled so swiftly and resolutely (even though leadership was not at all diverse), and can’t fathom why other companies ever fall short. It’s mind boggling.

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Goober November 17, 2017 at 10:29 pm

Given that Tesla has been shedding employees by the hundreds, if not thousands, lately, with a big cloud over all of it (claiming they were all fired for cause when all the evidence available to the public looks like a layoff that wasn’t handled legally), I’m not sure there’s anything to be learned by studying a single employee’s termination there. From the outside, it looks like Tesla is having some serious problems, either cash flow or just too many employees, and isn’t handling them very well.

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