45% of Tesla Shareholders Express Concern with Policy that Enables Discrimination

(October 13, 2021, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE)


At Tesla’s Annual General Meeting, 45% of shareholders voted in favor of Nia Impact Capital’s resolution asking the company to research and report on its use of forced arbitration agreements. This shows a marked increase in support of this request from Tesla shareholders, 27% of which supported the resolution in 2020.

This resolution was voted on just days after a San Francisco federal court awarded a former contract employee, not subject to arbitration given his contractor status, $137 million for enduring a hostile and racist work environment while at Tesla. The Nia shareholder resolution asked the Board study the impact of the use of mandatory arbitration on Tesla’s employees and workplace culture, evaluating the impact of Tesla’s use of arbitration on harassment and discrimination in its workplace and on employees’ ability to seek redress.

Requiring employees to use arbitration has been linked to enabling discrimination and harassment across corporate America. Notably, Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp, and Uber Technologies Inc. no longer require arbitration’s use for cases of sexual harassment.

In addition to this week's case in San Francisco, Tesla has faced multiple serious and concerning allegations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment at its factories, despite Tesla’s code of conduct banning both harassment and discrimination.

In presenting the shareholder resolution, Dr. Kristin Hull, Founder and CEO of Nia Impact Capital, said: “Arbitration is not an effective practice for employee contracts when its use hides problematic issues from other employees and investors. Bias, discrimination and harassment in the workplace create uncompensated risks for investors, inviting unnecessary legal, brand, financial, and human capital issues to a company.”

Tesla had recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal. If Elon Musk's ownership had been  excluded from the "against" vote tally, the resolution would have received a significant majority of outside shareholders' support.

Meredith Benton, Founder of Whistle Stop Capital, a consultancy supporting Nia Impact Capital in its conversations with Tesla said “Arbitration and other concealment clauses hide true workplace conditions from investors. Investors need to know how many Tesla employees have faced, or continue to face, racist or sexist working conditions..”


For additional information contact: 

Meredith Benton, President and Founder, Whistle Stop Capital benton@whistlestop.capital; 978-304-2234

Nia Impact Capital is a woman led impact investing firm investing at the intersection of environmental sustainability and social justice for an inclusive and sustainable economy. www.niaimpactcapital.com/

Whistle Stop Capital is a consultancy that partners with asset owners and investors to identify and raise material social and environmental concerns. www.whistlestop.capital