(Reuters) – Tesla Inc. has asked a California judge to suspend the trial of a state authority accusing the electric car maker of widespread racial discrimination at its flagship facility, saying the state must investigate the claims further and provide a chance to resolve the dispute.
Tesla in a statement to the Oakland state court on Monday also revealed that it is being investigated separately by the US Commission for Equal Opportunities for Equal Opportunities and said that the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing may have been quick to file its lawsuit in February as part of a “green war” with the federal government.
In the application, Tesla̵7;s lawyers said that DFEH conducted a “barefoot investigation” before suing and did not share many complaints from employees with the company until after the lawsuit was filed. The company added that DFEH violated a state law that requires the agency to take various measures before suing an employer.
DFEH did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An EEOC spokesman said the agency did not comment on ongoing investigations.
In its trial, the state government accused Tesla of promoting a “racially segregated workplace” at its factory in Fremont, California, where black workers are alleged to have been subjected to racist slander and discrimination in work, discipline and pay.
Tesla is trying to stop the lawsuit for 120 days and force DFEH to try to mediate the claims with the company out of court.
The case is the latest to accuse Tesla of tolerating gross discrimination at the Fremont plant.
A federal judge in California last week awarded $ 15 million to a former Tesla elevator operator in a case of racial bias. The judge overturned a $ 137 million jury verdict but said the plaintiffs had shown ample evidence of racial abuse and Tesla’s failure to address it.