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Ex-Tesla worker rejects US$15 million award in racism case


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 Fremont, Calif., plant has rejected a substantially reduced award of US$15 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 in damages for emotional distress and $130 million in punitive damages in the case.


A judge slashed that by nearly 90% to $15 million, which Diaz turned down, according to a court filing. Diaz’s rejection of the award could mean a new trial in the case.


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


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


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