The jury determined $3 million in punitive damages and $175,000 in past and future noneconomic damages after a five-day trial. (Representation image) Representational Image/Blimmigration

A Black man who had accused Tesla of concealing racial abuse he had experienced while working at its California factory was awarded approximately $3.2 million on Monday by a federal jury in San Francisco.

Compared to the $137 million, largely in punitive damages, that a different jury awarded two years prior, the amount was significantly lower. Later, the judge, in that case, decreased the sum to $15 million, which prompted the plaintiff, Owen Diaz, to dispute the figure in a new trial.

But he will leave with less money than he came with. The jury determined $3 million in punitive damages and $175,000 in past and future noneconomic damages after a five-day trial, The New York Times reported.

In 2015 and 2016, Mr. Diaz said that while employed as a contractor at Tesla's manufacturing in Fremont, close to San Francisco, he experienced numerous acts of racism. He said that while he was there, a boss and another coworker routinely made racial slurs against him. According to him, workers also scribbled and wrote racial slurs, symbols, and caricatures all over the factory.

Mr. Diaz claimed that while he had brought the violations to the company's attention and that they had emotionally affected him, little had been done to remedy them by Tesla.

He said he had tolerated the hostilities until his son began working at the factory and faced similar treatment.

"The prevalence of the use of the N-word inside of Tesla's workplace is an indication that they did not care about how their African American employees felt," Bernard Alexander, one of Mr. Diaz's lawyers, said in a closing argument in the latest trial. "It was a complete affront to every African American inside the workplace."

Tesla's attorneys urged the jury to reduce the damage award by arguing that Mr. Diaz had exaggerated the severity and impact of the racial abuse he had experienced.

But the company's liability for having subjected Mr. Diaz to a hostile work environment and having failed to prevent racial harassment was not on trial. That had already been "conclusively determined," Judge William H Orrick said.

Orrick said in instructions provided to jurors. Instead, it was up to the jury to decide how much money Mr. Diaz was owed. The initial trial was likewise presided over by Judge Orrick.

Following the trial in 2021, the director of human resources for Tesla said that the firm had dismissed two contractors and suspended a third in response to Mr. Diaz's accusations.

Although the company was "not perfect" in 2015 and 2016, the executive noted that it had made significant progress since then.

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