Skip to main content

Tesla Loses Top-Ranking Black Executive

Valerie Capers Workman, head of the company's human resources department, leaves as the company faces accusations of racism.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

The electric vehicle corporate shuffle hit Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Free Report Tuesday as the company's Valerie Capers Workman, head of human resources and one of its highest ranking black employees, left the company. 

The timing of Workman's departure comes at a time when Tesla has faced multiple high-profile lawsuits of its treatment of black employees and subcontracted workers at the company's plant in Fremont, California. 

“I am proud of all that I was able to accomplish at Tesla with the support of truly excellent colleagues, especially the People and Legal teams,” Workman said in an email cited by Bloomberg

Workman, who will leave Tesla for career-placement firm Handshake at the end of the month, did not say anything disparaging about Tesla on her way out. 

The EV car maker has been marred by controversy over the treatment of minorities.

In October, a federal jury in San Francisco ordered Tesla to pay nearly $137 million to a black elevator operator who accused the company of ignoring racial abuse that he faced while working at the company's factory in 2015 and 2016.

Owen Diaz said a supervisor and others and the factory repeatedly referred to him using racial slurs. Diaz reported seeing swastikas in the company's bathrooms and a racist effigy drawn around the office. 

Other black employees complained about barriers to advancement. The company was the subject of at least two other lawsuits.

Tesla isn't the only EV company experiencing top-level departures. 

Rivian  (RIVN) - Get Free Report announced Monday that COO Rod Copes has left the company. 

Rod began a phased retirement from Rivian several months ago, affording the team continuity as we moved toward production ramp.” Copes’ “duties have been absorbed by our leadership team,” the company added.

Separately, the company also reported that production figures were in line with lowered guidance it offered last month.