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Tesla: Racial harassment lawsuit is a 'hotbed of misinformation'

The company says its response to the claims was "fair and just."
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Workers assemble cars on the line at Tesla's factory in Fremont. Corbis via Getty Images

Tonight Tesla responded to a report of another lawsuit where a former worker, Marcus Vaughn, said he suffered from racial harassment at the company's Fremont, CA assembly line. In a blog post titled "Hotbed of Misinformation," Tesla calls its response (firing three people who worked on or near his team) a "fair and just response to the facts that we learned." It also disputed Vaughn's account on several points, including whether he complained to Elon Musk about the harassment, and claiming he wasn't fired, but that his contract with a temp agency was not renewed.

Elon Musk email 5/31/17

Tesla also posted the full content of an email cited in the lawsuit, which it says "is dedicated to ensuring that Tesla employees always try to do the right thing, that being a jerk is not allowed, that everyone should be contributing to an atmosphere where people look forward to coming to work in the morning and that no one should feel excluded, uncomfortable, or unfairly treated." It also says that "we" feel an apology for an offensive or hurtful statement should be accepted, to avoid what Tesla describes as the counterpoint -- ruining someone's life.

This is the language that Vaughn's lawyer Larry Organ cited in a comment to Bloomberg, where he said that "The law doesn't require you to have a thick skin...Tesla is not doing enough." Whether or not Organ can convince the court Vaughn's concerns do cover more than 100 employees (Tesla says they don't), it appears he will have an opportunity to argue that point -- its blog post made clear that Tesla "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"

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