Tesla accuses civil rights agency of illegally suing for racial discrimination

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According to a petition filed Wednesday with the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL), Tesla accused the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) of failing to conduct a proper investigation before suing Tesla for racial bias at an assembly plant.

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DFEH filed a lawsuit in February against Tesla for alleged racial discrimination and harassment of employees at the company’s Fremont plant. Tesla tried to stay the lawsuit to settle the claims out of court, which the automaker said should have been an option before DFEH resorted to legal action.

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On Wednesday, California Supreme Court Judge Evelio Grillo said a stay of the trial would be inappropriate. according to Reuters. (The news agency was also the first to report Tesla’s OAL petition the day before it was formally filed.) However, according to court documents, Grillo agreed to set a hearing for August 23 on a motion to waive objection or motion to dismiss based on DFEH’s questionable practice.

The automaker accuses the DFEH – in its response to Grillo’s decision not to grant the motion to stay the case and in the motion filed with the OAL – of enacting “underground rules” that ignore requirements it must meet before filing claims against employers, such as providing fair notifying the employer of an investigation and assisting in resolving disputes before going to court.

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Tesla may have better luck in August as California Fair Employment and Housing Act supports some, if not all, of the automaker’s claims about how the DFEH should have behaved. However, sources familiar with law told TechCrunch that the OAL petition would likely not affect Tesla’s case, largely because it had to be filed before the case began.

So the OAL petition appears to be Tesla’s attempt to limit the agency’s powers by insisting that it take additional steps before suing employers like Tesla.

screenshot of petition OAL tesla

Screenshot of a petition filed with the California Office of Administrative Law on behalf of Tesla. Image credit: TechCrunch

Specifically, Tesla says the DFEH did not notify the automaker of the “details” of its investigations prior to the start of those investigations and did not provide information to support its findings against Tesla. The automaker also appears to take issue with the fact that the lawsuit was brought without prior participation in “good faith conciliation and mediation” and that the lawsuit was filed over claims “not previously investigated and/or in respect of which the employers were not represented in advance”. costume notification.

law appears to state that the DFEH should conduct a prompt investigation into allegations of bias, but not necessarily the employer’s knowledge of the investigation. However, the wording of the law states that the DFEH must “immediately make efforts to eliminate the alleged illegal recruitment practices through consultation, conciliation and persuasion” and that before filing a civil action, “the department must require all parties to participate in a binding resolution disputes in the department’s internal dispute resolution department free of charge to the parties for the purpose of resolving the dispute without litigation.”

DFEH could not be contacted for comment.

The OAL has 60 days to accept or reject a petition based on certain criteria. But again, it’s unclear if accepting this petition will help Tesla’s cause in this particular case, as it’s already underway. OAL did not respond in time to the comment.

The DFEH lawsuit against Tesla is one of several pending in California courts that accuse the automaker of tolerating discrimination and sexual harassment in its factories.

This week, a California judge moved closer to settling a case with former Tesla elevator operator Owen Diaz, who alleges rampant racist treatment and harassment during the nine months he worked at a Fremont plant. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco told Diaz he had two weeks. accept a $15 million payout from Tesla, which is a far cry from $137 million the jury had previously awarded Diaz.

Credit: techcrunch.com /

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