*Sharing this recent note to employees from Valerie Capers Workman, VP People:
This month we are in the process of welcoming employees back to Tesla offices. Whether you’ve been working on site or working remotely, we want to thank you for your hard work as Tesla continues to break records and achieve new milestones virtually every day. We are returning to a new normal, but the basic principles that guide Tesla’s success remain the same: excellence and respect.
I encourage everyone to reread “Our Commitment to Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” in our Employee Guidebook, which speaks to how we are continually building a culture that is safe, respectful, fair and inclusive for all of our employees. And speaking about respect, I want to take a moment to remind everyone that some of the language that we use to show respect outside of work, should never be used in the workplace. As we know, in many cultures there are certain words—epithets, slurs, and such—that were created with the full intent to demean, dehumanize, and create an imminent sense of danger and fear in the target. Over time, some of those words have been reclaimed and co-opted by the original targeted communities and turned into terms of endearment, so long as they were only used by those within that community.
For example, I have been called the N-word many times in my personal life by individuals who intended to fill me with embarrassment and fear for my personal safety. At the same time, I have also experienced this same word being reclaimed by many in my community and used amongst each other as a term of endearment, to convey the very height of respect or joy, or to punctuate our humor. The same can be said about other reclaimed epithets and slurs that find their roots in bigotry against other marginalized groups, including women, racial, ethnic and religious minorities, and those in the LGBTQ+ community. A group of women calling each other the B-word, those in the LGBTQ community referring to themselves as the Q-word, and on and on. It can be empowering to take what was meant to harm you and instead redefine and own it on your own terms. This is by no means limited to one group of people—every community has ways of communicating to and about each other that if used by someone not in that community, would cause pain and offense. This is a complicated social issue. But at Tesla, it’s a distraction away from our mission to try to debate the acceptable and prohibited uses of these words. So we don’t. Tesla expressly forbids all such slurs, epithets or derogatory expressions based on any characteristics a person may have. Regardless of intent. And per our longstanding policies, we will take immediate disciplinary action if we find that any employee has used these words towards anyone at our work locations.
As we all get back together, let’s remember who we are. We are the company that ensures that virtually every employee can be an equity owner, that every employee has access to zero cost healthcare and that access to transportation should not prevent anyone from getting to and from their job location. At Tesla we work to ensure that all employees experience a fair and inclusive workplace—regardless of background. We are accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy and producing the most exciting and innovative vehicles and energy products on Earth. At the same time we must do all we can to ensure that Tesla continues to be an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone. This means leaving exclusionary language—no matter how well intentioned—at our workplace doors.
Thank You Team For All You Do For Tesla!