Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and former owner of Twitter Inc., speaks at The New York Times’ Annual Dealbook Conference in New York City on November 29, 2023. Speak at the summit.
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The U.S. Labor Relations Board wrongfully fired eight employees at Elon Musk’s defense contractor after they wrote an open letter criticizing Musk and accusing the workplace of selectively condoning sexual harassment. filed a complaint against SpaceX.
CNBC obtained a copy of the NLRB’s complaint through a Freedom of Information Act request. According to the complaint, eight SpaceX employees “acted in concert with other employees for mutual aid and protection by drafting and distributing open letters” detailing their workplace concerns. That’s what it means.
SpaceX employees wrote in an open letter that Musk’s “public behavior is often distracting and embarrassing to us.” They wrote that his divisive social media posts and allegations of sexual misconduct by him violate SpaceX’s own “no asses” and “zero tolerance” policies. .
After Business Insider’s report, the employee’s open letter was posted internally at SpaceX. reported that Musk made the disclosure in 2016 by proposing to a flight attendant on the company’s private jet, which led to a sexual harassment lawsuit against the CEO, which SpaceX reportedly settled for $250,000 in 2018. There is.
musk denied He called the allegations of sexual misconduct “wild accusations.” After Business Insider’s report, SpaceX Chief Operating Officer and President Gwynne Shotwell also defended Musk against sexual harassment allegations.
After a then-SpaceX employee wrote an open letter, the NLRB said that company management had “interrogated” the authors and told employees “if they disagreed with the employee’s actions, they would encourage them to resign,” among other things. It was discovered that he had made high-handed remarks. CEO Elon Musk. ” Ultimately, SpaceX illegally fired these employees for their protected speech, according to the NLRB complaint.
Mr. Musk claims to be a free speech advocate or an absolutist. But as CNBC previously reported, Musk’s company has repeatedly sought to suppress speech by others who criticize him or his business. For example, under Musk’s ownership, social network X, formerly known as Twitter, suspended the accounts of users who shared records or statements critical of Musk or his company, including software developers. travis brownand Aaron Greenspan, founder of PlainSite, an online database of legal and public records.
Laurie Burgess, an attorney representing SpaceX employees who were fired after publishing their open letter, told CNBC that her clients have also filed lawsuits against the California Department of Civil Rights for failing to correct sexual harassment at SpaceX. He said he has filed a formal complaint.
SpaceX has significant operations and headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment, and the California Department of Civil Rights did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
An NLRB spokesperson told CNBC in an email Wednesday that the Labor Department’s Los Angeles regional director issued a consolidated complaint against SpaceX on Wednesday after investigating the former employee’s allegations.
The NLRB regional office will now seek a settlement between SpaceX and former employees who spoke out and were fired. If no settlement is reached, the case will proceed to a hearing before an NLRB administrative law judge starting March 5 in Los Angeles. The decisions of such judges are not necessarily final and may be appealed to the NLRB Board and the Federal Court of Appeals.
The full complaint from the federal agency can be found here.