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The Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal jury on Monday ordered Tesla to pay $137 million in damages to a Black former employee who accused the company of ignoring racist abuse he endured from other workers, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: This verdict ends a process that began for Owen Diaz in 2015 and forces Tesla to recognize its role in creating a hostile work environment.

Background: Diaz worked as an elevator operator at Tesla's main factory in Fremont, California, from 2015 to 2016.

  • Colleagues referred to him using racial slurs, and employees scratched racial slurs and epithets in bathroom stalls. The abuse was also directed at Diaz's son, who also worked at Tesla, per NYT.
  • According to Diaz, he complained several times but the company refused to change its behavior, per an NYT investigation in 2018.

Details: The jury deliberated for four hours before agreeing with Diaz that Tesla helped create a hostile work environment.

  • It then awarded $130 million in punitive damages and nearly $7 million for emotional distress.

What they're saying: “It’s a great thing when one of the richest corporations in America has to have a reckoning of the abhorrent conditions at its factory for Black people,” said Diaz's lawyer Lawrence Organ.

  • “It took four long years to get to this point,” Diaz said. “It’s like a big weight has been pulled off my shoulders.”

Go deeper

Hertz to buy 100,000 electric vehicles from Tesla

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Car rental company Hertz announced Monday it will purchase 100,000 Tesla Model 3s by the end of 2o22 and install thousands of chargers across the United States as part of the company's turn toward electric vehicles.

Why it matters: It's a major purchase for Hertz, which filed for bankruptcy last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and a major sale for Tesla, coming just after it reported its highest-ever quarterly profit despite global supply chain problems.

4 hours ago - Technology

Facebook changes corporate name to Meta

Screen shot of CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company's "Connect" virtual event

CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said the social media giant is renaming its company Meta.

Why it matters: The effort is meant to shift its image from a social media platform to a “metaverse” company that focuses on building virtual work and social communities.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Filings show Sweetgreen isn't profitable, despite claims

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Restaurant chain Sweetgreen on Monday filed to go public, and revealed that it lost money in each year since 2014.

Why it matters: The company lied when it repeatedly told reporters it was profitable.