Tesla Inc. is no stranger to controversies or legal battles and, at any given time they seem to be involved in some situation or another that generates billable hours for lawyers and, of course, headlines.
The latest is reported from Alameda County Superior Court in California, where the company has filed a countersuit against the California Civil Rights Department, which sued the carmaker first in February for alleged discriminatory practices at its Fremont production facility.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Tesla claims that the agency — previously known as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing — violated state rules and adopted “underground rulemaking” in violation of the California Administrative Procedure Act, by filing the suit without seeking public comment, notifying the company first or giving them a chance to settle. They are also seeking an order barring the CRD from using what they allege are “unlawful procedures” in the process of investigating employers and requiring that the agency adopts new regulations through a formal process.
Related: Tesla’s Attempt To Reject Racial Bias Lawsuit Rejected
The original lawsuit filed by the California Civil Rights Department in February alleges that Tesla’s marketing to “environmentally conscious, socially responsible” buyers “masks the reality of a company that profits from an army of production workers, many of whom are people of color, working under egregious conditions”.
The lawsuit further claims that although 20 percent of the plant’s factory operatives are black, only 3 percent of the professionals and none of the executives are, which is due to a culture that has left complaints of racism unaddressed for years on end and has normalized usage of racial slurs and imagery.
The Silicon Valley giant has denied wrongdoing and claimed that the lawsuit is “politically motivated” and the claims within are “misguided”. The countersuit comes on the heels of an attempt by Tesla to have the case dismissed by a state judge, which was denied last month, and a further bid to get the California Office of Administrative Law to investigate their allegations against the CRD, which was declined by the agency without further explanation.