Tesla has unrelentingly hit back at a class-action complaint which labeled the carmaker’s factories a “hotbed for racist behavior.”
In a statement titled “Hotbed of Misinformation” issued on its website Wednesday, Tesla said it is “absolutely against any form of discrimination, harassment, or unfair treatment of any kind.”
The plaintiff is former employee Marcus Vaughn, who claimed he was routinely called the “n-word” by supervisors while working at Tesla. Vaughn also said he was fired in October “for not having a positive attitude” after complaining to Tesla’s human resources department.
Tesla said that it investigated the incident a few months ago, but discovered a “number of conflicting accusations and counter-accusations between several African-American and Hispanic individuals.”
In its investigation, the company said racial language such as the “n-word” and the “w-word” were being used toward by these employees to each other, and there was a threat of violence.
“After a thorough investigation, immediate action was taken, which included terminating the employment of three of the individuals,” according to the statement.
Tesla claimed Vaughn is the only plaintiff in the case, not the 100 that has been reported. The carmaker also said Vaughn was not hired by the company, but instead by a temp agency, and that he was not fired — but rather his six month contract had “ended as contracted.”
The company also hit back at the lawyer in Vaughn’s case, saying they had “long track record of extorting money for meritless claims and using the threat of media attacks and expensive trial costs to get companies to settle.”
“At Tesla, we would rather pay ten times the settlement demand in legal fees and fight to the ends of the Earth than give in to extortion and allow this abuse of the legal system,” the statement added.
Tesla also published Musk’s full email to employees which was mentioned in the complaint, which raised eyebrows, because it apparently told workers to essentially suck it up in the face of harassment.
“Elon also explained that if someone makes an offensive or hurtful statement on a single occasion, but subsequently offers a sincere apology, then we believe that apology should be accepted,” the statement reads.
Tesla, which has more than 33,000 employees, conceded that it’s “not humanly possible to stop all bad conduct,” but that it would do its “best to make it is as close to zero as possible.”