Tesla has been ordered to pay $137 million to Owen Diaz after the Black former employee said he suffered racial discrimination at the company’s plant in California.

The former employee has been awarded $6.9 in damages for emotional distress and $130 million in punitive damages, a court decided on Monday, October 4th.

Here’s what you need to know about Owen Diaz.

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Tesla ordered to pay $137 million to Owen Diaz

A San Francisco federal court has ordered Tesla to pay $137 million to former employee Owen Diaz who accused the company of ignoring racial discrimination, The New York Times has reported.

According to the lawsuit, Owen alleged that he endured racial abuse and accused supervisors at the carmaker of failing to stop the harassment.

The former worker alleged that other employees drew offensive drawings at the electric carmaker’s plant in Fremont, California, where Owen worked.

A jury in San Francisco agreed that the worker was a subject of racial harassment and a hostile work environment.

The court ordered Tesla to pay Owen $130 million in punitive damages and $6.9 in damages for emotional distress.

Who is Owen Diaz?

Owen is a contractor who was employed at Tesla for around a year from 2015 to 2016.

He worked as an elevator operator at the company’s factory in Fremont, California.

According to Owen’s attorneys, the worker was able to move forward with the case because he had not signed a mandatory arbitration agreement with Tesla.

In an interview, Owen said that he felt relieved by the court’s decision.

“It took four long years to get to this point,” he said. “It’s like a big weight has been pulled off my shoulders.”

Has Tesla responded?

Tesla’s vice president of people, Valerie Capers Workman, sent out an email to employees in which she said that “the Tesla of 2015 and 2016 is not the same as the Tesla of today.” 

“While we strongly believe that these facts don’t justify the verdict reached by the jury in San Francisco, we do recognize that in 2015 and 2016 we were not perfect,” she wrote, which was also published as a blog post on Tesla’s website.

Other news outlets have reported that it wasn’t clear whether Tesla planned to appeal to the court’s decision.

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