California Civil Rights Law Group files lawsuit against Tesla Motors Inc. after Oakland man endured months of racial discrimi...

Date : 03/28/2017 @ 3:30AM
Source : PR Newswire (US)

California Civil Rights Law Group files lawsuit against Tesla Motors Inc. after Oakland man endured months of racial discrimi...

FREMONT, Calif., March 27, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Forty four year-old DeWitt Lambert came from Alabama to start a new life at a dream job in California at Tesla's Fremont Factory.  Instead, he found himself working in a racially charged, sexually hostile and physically abusive environment.

Mr. Lambert, on a continuous basis from the summer of 2015 to the spring of 2016, was subjected by his co-workers on the assembly line, to racial slurs and lewd behavior. They would call him the N-word throughout his workday, talk about the size of his penis and even placed a drill gun into his buttocks.

Today, Lambert filed a 11-count suit in Alameda County Superior Court alleging Race Harassment, Race Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Retaliation, Failure to Prevent Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation, Threats of Violence in Violation of the Ralph Act, Violation of the Bane Act, Failure to Accommodate, Failure to Engage in the Interactive Process, and Assault and Battery.

"This was my dream job and it turned into a nightmare," said DeWitt Lambert.  "When I began working at Tesla I was happier than I've ever been.  Now, I've experienced discrimination worse than anything I experienced growing up in Alabama and I'm scared for my safety every evening when I leave the plant.  I asked for help from Tesla's management and it never came."

In approximately October 2015, a video camera caught the harassment and violent threats taking place on Lambert's iPhone:

Nigger, we take your ass home, nigger. Shred you up in pieces, nigger. Cut you up, nigger. Send your ass so everyone in yo family so everybody can have a piece of you, nigger. Straight up, nigger. We get down like that, nigger.

Larry Organ, attorney with The California Civil Rights Law Group, said, "the harassers went out of their way to document their racist and sexist behavior by leaving video recordings on Lambert's phone even going so far as to say that they would cut him up into pieces and send the body parts to his family members."  Lambert has five children.

Despite Lambert's pleas to get upper management and the human resources department to take appropriate action, nothing was done to prevent further racial harassment and discrimination and the abuse intensified.  In fact his harassers were promoted and then supervised him.

"The complaint alleges that Tesla failed, under California law, to take immediate and appropriate corrective action on Mr. Lambert's behalf," said Organ. "Because of this inaction my client is claiming  psychological harm and medical problems. Tesla is liable for Mr. Lambert's damages because it failed to adequately investigate and prevent damaging abuse from taking place in the workplace."

Lambert moves from Alabama to California, applies to work for Tesla. Works in various jobs while applying to Tesla.

June 26, 2015:
Lambert hired as Production Associate at Tesla

June 26, 2015 - April 2016:
Lambert works with the harassers

Fall 2015:
Lambert complains to a Supervisor about being called the "N" word, and asks "why do they use the word so freely here?" 

Winter 2015:  
Again Lambert complains to a Supervisor about being called the "N" word, and that harassers threatened to get him fired.

Winter 2015 – Present:
Continued complaints to HR about the harassment and "N" word

Winter 2015 – Present:
Lambert applies for numerous positions to try to get away from the harassers, and also for promotions (which harassers received and he has not)

Approx. February 2016:
Most, if not all, harassers promoted

Spring 2016:   
At least one harasser, if not more, promoted again. 

April 2016:     
Lambert is finally transferred to another line

June 2016:
HR views the racist videos. Harassers still employed, and make Lambert feel uncomfortable at work.

About California Civil Rights Law Group

The California Civil Rights Law Group, led by prominent trial attorney Larry Organ, is dedicated to furthering the cause of employee civil rights throughout the state. The legal team has made it its priority to provide help to those who need it the most, and specializes in representing plaintiffs in matters involving race, sex and disability harassment, discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination.


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SOURCE California Civil Rights Law Group

Copyright 2017 PR Newswire

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