Tesla barred from pausing race bias case while challenging agency's powers

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) cannot pause a California civil rights agency's lawsuit alleging widespread race discrimination at an assembly plant

while the electric carmaker separately challenges the agency's ability to sue employers, a judge ruled on Wednesday.

California Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo in Oakland said during a hearing that Tesla could pursue its claim that the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) failed to meet various requirements

before suing the company in February, but that staying the lawsuit would be inappropriate.

Tesla's lawyers had argued that the case should be put on hold so the department could give the company an opportunity to settle the claims outside of court, but Grillo said he lacked the power to do that.

“We cannot typically order an agency to exercise its discretion in a particular way,” the judge said. “That’s kind of a big no-no.”

The judge's decision was expected after Grillo in a written order on Tuesday said he was leaning toward allowing the case to proceed.

Tesla and its lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing also did not respond to a request for comment.

Tesla has denied wrongdoing and said the lawsuit was politically motivated.

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