A federal jury on Monday (Oct 4) has ordered Tesla to pay more than US$130 million in damages to a Black former worker named Owen Diaz, finding he was subjected to a racially hostile work environment, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The jury determined that the company failed to take reasonable steps to prevent Diaz, a contract worker who worked as an elevator operator at Tesla's Fremont factory in 2015 and 2016, from being racially harassed, the newspaper added.
Tesla and its attorneys did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Diaz's lawyers also did not respond to a request for comment.
Before the trial began, presiding judge William Orrick rejected efforts by Tesla to exclude one juror from the jury, saying he believed the attempt was based on race and "purposefully discriminatory".
Last year, the electric carmaker disclosed in its first US diversity report that Black employees make up just 4 per cent of Tesla's American leadership roles and 10 per cent of its total workforce in the country.
The trial was heard at the US District Court, Northern District of California.