American electric vehicle maker Tesla has urged a California judge to pause a lawsuit filed by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which accused the company of rampant racism at its Fremont Factory. The EV maker noted that the state must investigate the suit’s claims further, and it should also allow a chance for the litigation to be settled.
Tesla’s recent efforts were filed in state court in Oakland on Monday. The document revealed a couple of interesting tidbits about the company. One: Tesla noted that it currently employs 20,000 people at the Fremont Factory. And two: it is also being investigated by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). That said, Tesla noted in its filing that the DFEH may have rushed to file its lawsuit as part of a “turf war” with the federal agency.
Tesla’s legal team noted that the DFEH simply performed a “barebones investigation” into the electric vehicle maker before it sued the company. The DFEH reportedly did not share many worker complaints with Tesla after the suit was filed. Tesla’s legal team thus argued that the DFEH actually violated a state law that required the agency to take several steps before filing a lawsuit against an employer.
“DFEH conducted a barebones ‘investigation’ without interviewing key witnesses, requesting key documents, or ever stepping foot in the Fremont facility,” Tesla’s filing read.
Ultimately, Tesla is looking to stay the lawsuit for 120 days and potentially urge the DFEH to attempt to mediate the claims with the electric vehicle maker outside of court. The DFEH, for its part, has not issued a comment about Tesla’s recent efforts. A spokesperson from the EEOC also declined to comment on its own investigation into Tesla.
Tesla’s current efforts come as no surprise. In a February blog post, Tesla noted that once the DFEH files its lawsuit, the company would be asking the court to pause the case and take pertinent steps to ensure that all facts and evidence would be heard. The company outlined its stance on the DFEH’s accusations in the following section:
“Over the past five years, the DFEH has been asked on almost 50 occasions by individuals who believe they were discriminated against or harassed to investigate Tesla. On every single occasion, when the DFEH closed an investigation, it did not find misconduct against Tesla. It therefore strains credibility for the agency to now allege, after a three-year investigation, that systematic racial discrimination and harassment somehow existed at Tesla. A narrative spun by the DFEH and a handful of plaintiff firms to generate publicity is not factual proof,” Tesla wrote.
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