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SpaceX, Elon Musk sued by Former Employees for Retaliation, Sexual Harassment

Jun 22, 2024 | News | 0 comments

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Tech Update: Elon Musk, CEO and founder of SpaceX is facing legal action from eight former employees who allege retaliation, sexual harassment, and other grievances during their tenure at the aerospace company.

The lawsuit filed in a California State Court in Los Angeles on Wednesday, accuses Musk and SpaceX of unjustly terminating employees who voiced concerns about workplace culture. According to the plaintiffs, they were fired shortly after advocating for changes to align the company’s practices with legal standards of civility.

In June 2022, the eight workers assisted in the distribution of an open letter denouncing Musk’s actions and the alleged harm they have caused SpaceX’s working culture.

The lawsuit alleges

The 76-page petition continues, “Upon information and belief, Defendant Musk personally ordered the Plaintiffs’ terminations.” “This action seeks to hold SpaceX and Musk personally accountable for their gross misconduct.”

The lawsuit claims that all eight plaintiffs “were subjected to unwanted conduct and sexually suggestive remarks by Elon Musk that created a hostile and abusive work environment.”

Much of this purported behaviour originated from Twitter (now called X), the social media site that Musk paid $44 billion to acquire in 2022. Musk posts regularly from his own account on X, where he is pretty active.

“Musk’s utterances were quickly circulated by email, Teams channels, and/or word of mouth and widely discussed,” the complaint claims. “On information and belief, Musk knew that his vile and offensive posts permeated the workplace and that management took no action to prevent these posts from entering the workplace and took no action to remove them.”

Such posts were part of a “pervasively sexist culture at SpaceX,” according to the lawsuit.

When did it all begin?

The plaintiffs’ concerns were brought to light in the 2022 open letter. The lawsuit stated that three of the eight plaintiffs were the primary writers of the letter, with the remaining five having “contributed feedback and ideas.”

According to the lawsuit, on June 15, 2022, the authors of the open letter posted it on SpaceX’s intranet. It claims that on the same day, Musk instructed a human resources official to fly from Texas to SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne in order to “deal with” the letter’s writers.

The lawsuit claims that on June 16, the three principal authors were fired. After that, SpaceX management looked into other important contributions, which resulted in the firing of the other five plaintiffs over the next two months.

These employees are already pursuing charges

Let us inform you that SpaceX has previously contested charges brought by the National Labor Relations Board, arguing against the constitutionality of the agency’s structure. The ongoing legal battle highlights mounting tensions between Musk and current and former employees regarding workplace practices and employee rights.

The complaint was brought just one day before Tesla shareholders were scheduled to vote on Musk’s compensation package, which was estimated to be worth $45 billion. This comes after a Wall Street Journal article published on Tuesday that described Musk’s history of having sex with coworkers.

According to a Business Insider story from 2022, SpaceX settled a lawsuit alleging that he exposed himself to a worker on a private plane by paying $250,000 (Mr. Musk later denied this). Upon purchasing Twitter, Musk laid off approximately half of the company’s employees and dismissed another dozen staff critics.

One of the plaintiffs, Paige Holland-Thielen, expressed hope that the lawsuit would empower others to advocate for a more equitable workplace environment. In a statement, he said, “We hope that this lawsuit encourages our colleagues to stay strong and to keep fighting for a better workplace.”

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Written by Riteshu Sen Jaiswar

Chief Of Media at BIZBoost || Public Speaker || Web 3 Junkie || Passionate Writer || Gyaan Seeker

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