Tesla has accused the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) of not conducting a proper investigation before suing Tesla for racial bias at its assembly plant, according to a petition filed Wednesday with California’s Office of Administrative Law (OAL).
The DFEH filed a lawsuit against Tesla in February for alleged racial discrimination and harassment of workers at the company’s Fremont factory. Tesla had tried to adjourn the lawsuit to settle claims out of court, which the automaker said should have been an option before the DFEH resorted to a lawsuit.
On Wednesday, a California Superior Court judge Evelio Grillo said it would be inappropriate to stay the lawsuit, according to Reuters. (The news agency was also the first to report on Tesla’s petition to the OAL a day before it was officially filed.) However, according to the courts, Grillo agreed to hold a hearing on Aug. 23 for a demurrer motion or motion. fired, based on the questionable practices of the DFEH.
The carmaker accuses DFEH — in its response to Grillo’s decision not to grant the motion to stay the case and in the petition filed with OAL — of adopting “underground regulations” that do not take into account the requirements it must do before filing lawsuits against employers, such as giving the employer notice of an investigation and helping to mediate disputes before going to court.
Tesla may have better luck in August, as California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act backs up some if not all of the automaker’s claims about how DFEH should have behaved. However, sources familiar with the law told Vidak For Congress that the OAL petition is unlikely to have any effect on Tesla’s case, primarily because it should have been filed before the case began.
The OAL petition, therefore, appears to be a move by Tesla to temper the agency’s authority by urging additional steps to be taken before employers like Tesla are sued.
Specifically, Tesla says that the DFEH did not inform the automaker of the “particulars” of its investigations before starting those investigations, and has not provided information to support its findings against Tesla. The automaker also appears to disagree that the lawsuit was filed without first engaging in “good faith mediation and mediation”, and that the lawsuit was filed over claims “that have not been previously investigated and/or employers were not informed in advance.” -suit message.”
The law seems to state that the DFEH is required to promptly investigate claims of bias, but not that they must necessarily notify the employer of an investigation. However, the language of the law does say that the DFEH must “immediately seek to eliminate the illegal labor practice complained of through conferences, mediation and persuasion,” and that before any civil suit is instituted, “the Department shall require all parties that they participate in mandatory dispute resolution in the internal dispute resolution department at no cost to the parties in an effort to resolve the dispute without trial.”
The DFEH could not be reached for comment in time.
The OAL has 60 days to accept or reject a petition based on certain criteria. But again, it’s unclear whether accepting this petition will help Tesla’s case with this particular case, as it’s already underway. The OAL did not respond in time for comment.
The DFEH lawsuit against Tesla is one of several pending California courts accusing the automaker of tolerating discrimination and sexual harassment at its factories.
A California judge this week moved closer to settling a case with former Tesla elevator operator Owen Diaz, who claimed he was subject to rampant racial discrimination and harassment during the nine months he worked at the Fremont factory. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco told Diaz he had two weeks to accept Tesla’s $15 million payout, which is a long way from the $137 million a jury previously awarded Diaz.