Tesla Inc. on Thursday argued against a California institution that accused the electric car maker of tolerating widespread racial discrimination in its flagship industry.
Tesla in a complaint filed in Alameda County District Court said the California Department of Civil Rights (CRD), which sued the company in February, adopted “confidentiality rules” that allowed it to file a lawsuit without first notifying Tesla of the claims or providing the company. a chance to settle down.
Tesla’s counterclaim claims the CRD violated state law by not seeking public comment before adopting procedures to investigate and sue employers.
And those practices violate requirements that the CRD disclose details of its investigations to employers and make efforts to settle claims out of court before filing suit, Tesla said.
Tesla is seeking an injunction barring the CRD from following its allegedly illegal practices in the investigation of any employer and requiring the agency to adopt new regulations through a formal rulemaking process.
A CRD spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tesla made similar claims in an attempt to dismiss the California agency’s lawsuit, which was rejected by a state judge last month.
But the complaint filed Thursday could allow the company’s lawyers to reveal new details about CRD’s practices and its investigation of Tesla through the discovery process, which could strengthen its efforts to have the case dismissed.
CRD says Tesla’s flagship Fremont, Calif., facility is a racially segregated workplace where black workers faced racial profiling and graffiti and were discriminated against in terms of work assignments, discipline and wages.
Tesla denied wrongdoing and said the case was politically motivated.
In June the company had asked a separate California agency, the Office of Administrative Law, to investigate CRD’s alleged adoption of illegal policies. The OAL last month declined to review Tesla’s request without explaining its decision.
Austin, Texas-based Tesla is also facing a series of allegations of racial and gender discrimination by employees, most of which involve the Fremont plant.
A federal judge in April cut the jury’s verdict against a black employee accused of racial harassment from US$137 million to $15 million.
The plaintiff rejected the reduced award and opted for a new trial, scheduled for March 2023.
(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York; Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Lisa Shumaker)