$136.9M Judgment vs. Tesla Underscores Rising Costs of Joint Employer Relationships

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After less than four hours of deliberation, a jury in a California federal court recently awarded $136.9 million to a former Tesla subcontractor after finding he had been subjected to a racially hostile work environment at the company’s factory in the northern part of the state. The huge damages award demonstrates the potential dangers underlying joint employer relationships.

Facts

Owen Diaz testified he and his son suffered near-daily racial epithets (including the use of the N-word, swastikas, and racial graffiti and drawings) from coworkers and supervisors. He said his complaints to management failed to end the harassment.

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