A San Francisco federal court came to the decision after Owen Diaz, a one-time contract worker who last worked at Tesla in 2016, came forward with accusations that those he worked with left racist graffiti in the bathroom, put a racist drawing in his workspace and told him to “go back to Africa.”
Diaz did not sign one of Tesla’s mandatory arbitration agreements, which attorneys J. Bernard Alexander and Larry Organ say is why the case was able to move forward. The agreement requires employees to solve such issues in-house and not at a trial.
“We were able to put the jury in the shoes of our client,” Alexander told CNBC. “When Tesla came to court and tried to say they were zero tolerance and they were fulfilling their duty? The jury was just offended by that because it was actually zero responsibility.”