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Tesla Ordered to Pay Former Black Employee $1M in Racial-Discrimination Case

Tesla has denied the allegations of a former Black employee who said he was called the N-word and made to work longer hours after speaking out about the name-calling.

Melvin Berry, a Tesla materials handler since 2015, said his supervisors at Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory victimized him in the case where the elite car manufacturer was ordered in the racial discrimination case to pay him $1 million, according to a Bloomberg report.

Case arbitrator Elaine Rushing, who said the situation “created a racially hostile work environment” and altered conditions of Berry’s employment, added that it was a “difficult” case to rule on, but that she believed both of Berry’s supervisors used the slur.

Tesla, which denied the allegations at the time, said there was no written evidence that Berry had complained to his co-workers or human resources about his supervisors using the N-word, according to Rushing’s May 12 ruling. The company said that Berry left the job voluntarily and that, per the ruling, his economic losses amounted to $148 at most.

Although Tesla was told to pay $1.02 million, most of it went toward Berry’s attorneys’ fees and legal costs. Tesla was also told to pay Berry $266,278.50 in damages, including $100,000 to compensate for emotional distress, according to Business Insider, which reported Berry left the job 17 months after he started.

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