Former employees sue Elon Musk’s SpaceX

Former employees sue Elon Musk’s SpaceX

SpaceX Elon Musk Tesla Starship

Eight engineers say they were fired in 2022 after asking the company to clarify its sexual harassment policies

Aerospace company SpaceX and its founder Elon Musk were sued Wednesday by a group of engineers who say they were illegally fired after raising concerns over alleged sexual harassment and discrimination toward women.

The eight engineers — a group of four women and four men — say Musk demanded they be fired in 2022 after circulating a letter criticizing the billionaire. The letter also asked the company to clarify its harassment policies and enforce them more consistently.

“Musk knowingly and purposefully created an unwelcome hostile work environment based upon his conduct of interjecting into the workplace vile sexual photographs, memes, and commentary that demeaned women and/or the LGBTQ+ community,” the plaintiffs said in the complaint, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday and first reported by Reuters.

Female engineers were routinely subjected to harassment and sexist comments because of SpaceX’s “pervasively sexist culture,” and their complaints were ignored, the lawsuit says.

“To have been terminated for protesting SpaceX’s utter failure to take basic measures to prevent sexual harassment is patently retaliatory, wrong, and actionable,” said Anne B. Shaver, who represents the plaintiffs, in a statement.

After the group reported their concerns regarding their firing to the National Labor Relations Board, the agency’s prosecutors issued a complaint alleging the employees were illegally fired. SpaceX later sued the NLRB and the case is still ongoing.

Wednesday’s filing comes as a new report from The Wall Street Journal claims that Musk repeatedly approached female employees at SpaceX for sex and to have his children. That includes a woman who left SpaceX after Musk asked her to have his babies, as the Journal reports, and a woman who Musk pursued a sexual relationship with that he met while she was interning for the company.

“The untruths, mischaracterizations, and revisionist history in your email paint a completely misleading narrative,” SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell told The Journal after being contacted for comment. “I continue to be amazed by what this extraordinary group of people are achieving every day even amidst all the forces acting against us. And Elon is one of the best humans I know.”

In March, SpaceX was sued by an employee who alleged that executives had ignored complaints of sexual harassment. She is not a member of Wednesday’s lawsuit.

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