Elon Musk | DE&I 'dies' at Tesla after erasure from 2023 annual report

DE&I 'dies' at Tesla after erasure from 2023 annual report

Tesla has removed references to minority workers and employee resource groups from its annual 10-K filing following Chief Executive Elon Musk’s social media attack on DE&I.

The automotive company had, in its previous report for the financial year 2022, included the following line:

“With a majority-minority workforce, empowering our employee resource groups to take charge in driving initiatives that attract, develop and retain our passionate workforce is vital to our continued success.”

Tesla has erased the line from its latest annual report, for the financial year 2023, which it released on Monday.

It included a similar sentence in its 10-k reports for 2020 and 2021 that referenced “integrating diversity, equity and inclusion principles and practices into our core values.” 

No reference to DE&I, diversity, or minorities can be found anywhere in its 2023 filing.

Other companies, such as Hasbro, doubled down on commitment DE&I in their latest 10-k filing, emphasizing goals to increase female representation in leadership globally to 50% and ethnically and racially diverse employee representation in the U.S. to 25% by 2025.

Hasbro, alongside fellow toy-maker Mattel – the company behind the hugely popular ‘Barbie’ movie – has faced criticism and complaints for their DEI policies.

This is the latest part of Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk’s campaign against DE&I in corporate America. In December 2023, must tweeted that “DE&I must die” and that “the point was to end discrimination, not replace it with different discrimination.”

The tweet appears to reference the huge swell in support and investment for DE&I following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, as well as the high-profile cases of “reverse discrimination” that have made the headlines in 2023.

Musk went on to tweet that DE&I is “just as morally wrong” as any other form of racism or sexism.

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In the HR profession, there have been calls to rethink approaches to DE&I amid debates about DE&I policies at U.S. colleges. In June 2023, the Supreme Court found that admissions policies at two U.S. colleges based on maintaining racially diverse student bodies violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Tesla has also been embroiled in multiple discrimination lawsuits in 2023, the year to which the DE&I-free 10-k report refers to.

In April 2023, it was ordered to compensate a contract worker $3 million, reduced from a $137 million verdict made in 2021, after failing to take reasonable action against racist abuse suffered by a contract worker. The contractor, Owen Diaz, operated a Tesla factory elevator in California and faced racial hostility during his time at the plant, including verbal slurs and racist graffiti.

In September 2023, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued Tesla citing ongoing, pervasive abuse against black employees at the California plant.

It has also faced a similar complaint from the California Civil Rights Department, which alleged discrimination against black workers surrounding pay and promotions, as well as a class action lawsuit supported by hundreds of Tesla workers.

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