Carmaker Tesla has been ordered to pay almost $137m (£101m) in damages for failing to stop a black former worker at its Fresno plant from being abused.

A federal court found that Owen Diaz was subject to hostile working conditions as a lift operator between 2015 and 2016.

According to Mr Diaz, black workers were subjected to racial slurs at work and graffiti from racist bathrooms.

Tesla denied the verdict, however it acknowledged it as “not perfect”.

In Mr Diaz’s suit, African-American workers claimed they witnessed a “scene straight out of the Jim Crow Era” at Fremont’s electric carmaker’s Fremont plant.

The group claimed that colleagues use racial epithets daily and instructed Mr. Diaz to “go home to Africa”.

According to it, “Tesla’s positive image was only a mask over its demeaning and regressive treatment of African Americans employees.”

The court found that Tesla failed to take reasonable steps against the abuse, despite complaints made to its supervisors.

According to his attorneys, Mr Diaz was awarded $130m by the San Francisco jury for punitive damages, and $6.9m as emotional distress.

Lawrence Organ, California Civil Rights Law Group’s one-man show, expressed hope that the penalty would encourage change.

He told The Washington Post that it was gratifying to hear that Tesla has been held accountable by a jury. “You cannot allow this type of thing to happen in your factory,” he said.

You can find out more at Tesla employees share a message on their websiteValerie Capers Workman was the vice president for people at the company and stated she strongly believed that the verdict had been unfair. She said that the carmaker responded quickly to Mr Diaz’s complaints.

She said, “We recognize that 2015 and 2016 were imperfect. Even though we aren’t perfect, it is improving. However, we’ve come a long ways since 2005.

She stated that the firm has now added two teams to help with employee complaints: one for investigating them and another team for diversity. This team focuses on equal opportunities at Tesla.

According to Tesla’s first diversity report in December, black workers made up 4% of the US leadership positions and 10% of the total workforce.

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